Folk music has gotten to be one of the most eclectic genres in popular music. Many of this new breed seem set in taking traditional wooden instruments on a completely refreshing and vital way. The Portland folk duo Strangled Darlings are doing their best to test a few perceived limits.
Comprised of George Veech (vocals, guitar, banjo, mandolin) and Jessica Anderly (cello, violin, saw, vocals), the Strangled Darlings make a unique duality. He is self-taught, she is classically trained. The music is often uplifting and spritely, while the lyrics are dark.
The music is universally compelling, but what would Mom say about the lyrics? To see what the fuss is about, check out the duo when they perform Thursday, March 24 at 6 p.m. at Great Pacific Wine and Coffee Co., 403 S. Main St., Pendleton. Theres no cover charge for the all-ages show.
The written introduction to the Darlings first full-length release, The Devil in Outer Space: An Operetta, reads as follows: Stuart rides a bus, bleeds, frets he is medicalized, he forgets. He wishes, runs, lusts & loves, always with fear, always waiting to be saved. Fate intervenes, gods battle, betrayal occurs, weakness is revealed. Finally, after it is surely too late, he sails. We listen.
And what a listen it is. Stuart sees and experiences it all. Tragedy, bleakness, William Blake mysticism, untrustworthy guardian angels and even hot sex with higher powers its all here. Word has it that the inspiration for the album was the question of what would happen if God commandeered Satans space ship. Hmmm ... that makes sense.
With all the attention that the lyrics seem to be getting, its the instrumental prowess of the players thats the lasting treat of The Devil in Outer Space. The duo, as well as the various guest musicians, creates a warm vibrant sound that encourages repeat listens.
The Willamette Week described the Strangled Darlings as ... imagine Tom Waits and Jack White drinking in a Romani dive bar, then haphazardly mixing DNA.
That may be the single most effective description of what one will find in the latest by Strangled Darlings. The bar room quirkiness, odd characters, stale smoke and a guitar or two.
Johnny Vinyl is a regular contributor to the EO community page. His column, Ride the vibe, focuses on entertainment. Contact him at email@example.com.