Brighton Magazine

The Brighton Magazine

Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Friday 25 January 2013

I V (intravenous): Diana Darby Crafts Her Very Own Colossus On Fourth Album Of Dark Gems

The floorboards creak. The windows flap back and forth in the pre-storm breeze. There's something in the walls; the ghost of an event long since played out to its grizzly conclusion. And all the while the Dansette plays the filmic and captivating new album, I V (intravenous), by Diana Darby.



Welcome to the hauntingly beautiful, strange and unsettling world of the Nashville-based one-take queen. 

She"s the modern day equivalent of Sylvia Plath; poking a lyrical stick into the dark woods of our darkest consciousness. 

This isn"t pop, this isn"t some cheap commercial-baiting wannabe. This is the soundtrack to what comes after the party years. This is the comedown. This is the truth lying bloody and convulsing by the side of the crossroads. 


Diana Darby"s last seven years – the time it has taken her to follow-up the majestic The Magdalene Laundries – have been littered with both catastrophes and misfortune.

She sustained neck and back injuries after being rear-ended in a hit and run. Her constant canine companion, Trouble, died suddenly, and her parents fell victim to the ravages of old age.

Darby said back in 2005 that she writes because her upbringing "was a nightmare."

She continued: "My first love is poetry. But poets don"t make any money, (not that songwriters do either) so I chose song writing because it combines the best of both worlds for me… poetry and music. But I don"t consider myself just a songwriter. I think of myself as a writer."

This would explain her Plath-like turns of phrase. On I V (intravenous) opener "Trouble", the scene is set in the first verse: You are / looking for trouble / Looking for trouble / In this world .. before the unsettling payoff: .. You think / He will come to you / But you / Don't know what he'll do.

Even love doesn"t get the candyfloss and summer sun treatment. On 'If Love', our protagonist asks: If love were a girl / Would you mock her in vain / If love fell apart / Would you sew her again. The unseemly side of love, maybe. But the honest line, definitely. 

But it"s on the album"s standout cut, 'Heaven', that Darby seemingly soundtracks Jeanette Winterson"s recent revelatory autobiographical tale of childhood mental abuse. 


In Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal, Winterson graphically details how she was beaten, she was often hungry, she was left all night on the doorstep and that she was not well loved.

The first verse of 'Heaven' reads: My mother tells me I will go to Hell /  My mother tells me that I won't be saved / My mother tells me that she is afraid / That I won't go to Heaven / I won't go to Heaven.

But it"s thanks to Darby"s understated melodies that the album"s strong lyrical content is able to shine through. 

She gently weaves her electric guitar lines behind her hushed vocal tones. It is a credit to all involved that it takes a look at the sleeve notes to reveal that it"s not a solo affair, but that in fact five other musicians are involved.

 I V (intravenous) is a medicine that needs to be taken as a whole. It drifts, but never plods. 

All the pieces fit together and as a body of work it lives up to Darby"s own take on her sound: "Fragile, delicate, quiet. In the realm of Nick Drake." Add to that majestic and thought provoking, and you have the modern day Darby all sewn-up (as if!).

Diana Darby's 'I V (intravenous)' is out now .. see dianadarby.com for more details.


by: Mike Cobley

Related links

Diana Darby

Share    

“I want young people to realise that they have the power to change the world right from their bedroom, kitchen table or garden shed."
Next year will see the UK's biggest Pride Festival mark twenty-five years of Pride in the City. and it is widely anticipated to be the biggest Pride celebration in the City to date.
Off the back of last summer’s major festival stages, as well as playing guests to Arctic Monkeys at two huge shows in London's Finsbury Park and at Dublin's Marlay Park, Brighton band Royal Blood's reputation is building internationally, as they set off to prove to the world that rock is definitely not dead.
Same Sky is turning to crowdfunding and local business support to deliver Brighton's Burning the Clocks on its 21st birthday. 
Pic WaterAid/ Eliza Deacon
Local fundraiser, Sophie Goodall, from Brighton, saw first-hand the difference the money she has raised for WaterAid is making  during an unforgettable trip to Uganda, with the international development charity.
A funny fella with a brain as razor sharp as his wit - and don't you just love him for it - Jimmy Carr has honed his craft and now uses his audience as the backbone of his stand-up.
Elvis Costello had fallen out of love with his home country after a bad experience at Glastonbury back in 2005. The memory was recounted by Elvis as one of the worst forty-five minutes of his professional life: 
Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon is the new album from English national treasures The Wave Pictures,  It was co-written and produced by one of their all time heroes Billy Childish.
A competition is now open to design the front cover of the new-look Brighton Fringe Family Guide; now an A5 booklet, available in early March 2014. 
Sussex's arts calendar will be bolstered by a brand new event next year as Chestnut Tree House children's hospice and Brighton Dome join forces to host the Big Heart charity art auction in March 2015.
After playing a total hit storm when they appeared in Glastonbury's much coveted 'special guest' slot, last summer, Kaiser Chiefs are about to do the same when they visit Brighton, early next year.
The Unthanks first came to our attention when they were headlining a Great Escape night. A packed Spiegeltent next to St Peter’s Church, in Brighton, emptied rapidly as support, Bon Iver, left the venue. 

Ten couples are set to make history in Brighton & Hove when they are married at the same time on the first day the law allows.
Tick, tock the hour is near. It's the 9th December 1982 and there's a gig ticket on top of The Jam's pile of vinyl that lay neatly piled on the Dansette. Not just any old gig ticket, but one so I can say a fond farewell at the Brighton Centre to the band that had defined the last six years of my life.

Archive search

Search our archives for what's on and gone for the best of this city's theatre music comedy news and much more...






Latest Brighton Jobs

PA

The purpose of the role will be to support the Deprivation of Liberty Co-ordinator in the main but also be part of the generic administration team undertaking...
Tate - Brighton
More details

NON REGULATED FINANCIAL ADVISOR

Candidate Confident and ambitious Excellent communication and presentation skills A strong and proven sales track record is essential Ability to liaise at all...
Clark James Ltd - Brighton
More details

PROPERTY INSPECTOR

You will have a clean driving licence and an experience as a Property Inspector. Carrying out property visits and reporting on findings....
Office Angels - Brighton
More details

Store Manager, Brighton

Have maximised sales in either a home furnishing or fashion environment. Priority Recruitment have been retained by a fast growing home furnishings business to...
- Brighton
More details
Organising a conference or event in Brighton?
See our Brighton Conference section.
Brighton web design by ...ntd