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 for more details.

by: Mike Cobley

Related links

Diana Darby


With nearly 300 years of history, twenty eight writers and artists, and fourteen fantastical tales featuring unheralded characters and true events from the city's fascinating history, Brighton: The Graphic Novel is a unique collaborative collection. 
Terrence Higgins Trust, the UK's largest HIV and sexual health charity, has launched the fourth annual National HIV Testing Week in Brighton and Hove, with a focus to increase testing within black African communities. 
In heart-warming, family-drama Watercolor Postcards, actor Jonathan Banks shows his softer side as homely, small-town barkeep Ledball. The Breaking Bad star talks childhood, values and his joy at reprising the role of Mike for Better Call Saul.
Steve Punt, Charlie Condou and Philip Franks are set to star as The Narrator in The Rocky Horror Show, which visits Brighton, next month.
Members of Brighton’s One Voice partnership, that brings together communities including faith groups and minorities to tackle racism and intolerance, has met following the recent Paris terrorist attacks.
It was straight down to business when Paul Weller took to the Brighton Centre stage, last Friday night (20th November 2015).
On Monday 23rd November 2015, a new weekly evening show is launched on Brighton's community radio station RadioReverb – and it's especially for Irish citizens living in the city. It's called What's The Craic?
Pic by Heather Buckley
Brighton charity Same Sky has raised a third of its £6,000 crowdfunding target, for Burning the Clocks 2015. 
Fans of Alan Partridge have reason to rejoice as Brighton resident Steve Coogan is resurrecting his legendary character in 2016. After the success of the movie Alpha: Papa and the original run of Mid-Morning Matters episodes, there is more Alan coming our way.
The Closer We Get is a powerful and exquisitely-shot autobiographical portrait of loyalty, broken dreams and redemption told by its director, reluctantly-dutiful daughter Karen Guthrie, who takes you under the skin of the household she returns to for this long goodbye.
“Take me back to dear old Blighty, Blighty is the place for me…” Blighty Brighton, the new e-book from QueenSpark Books, is a collective memory of Brighton and Hove during the First World War including posters, photographs, pictures, songs and personal recollections. 
Two British filmmakers are hoping to reverse long-held prejudices against the Islamic Republic of Iran with a new adventure film Karun, portraying their unusual journey through the country. 
He is best known for playing socially inappropriate and hopeless-in-love anti-heroes. From Gary Strang in Men Behaving Badly to the eponymous lead in Doc Martin . The real Martin Clunes however, is far more charming and lucky in love…
Esmee Drake, 14, from Brighton, was born six weeks prematurely, without an oesophagus and with a hole in her heart. She is profoundly deaf and couldn't sleep at night – too afraid of the silence in the dark.

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

Store Manager - Brighton - Fashion - AR42

You will be customer and commercially focused with an emphasis on driving sales and maximising bottom line profitability....
Paul Davies Recruitment Ltd - Brighton
More details

Customer Assistant - Part Time

Customers are always able to get the products they need. Customers leave our store feeling valued and satisfied....
Tesco - Shoreham by Sea
More details

Customer Assistant - Full Time

Customers are always able to get the products they need. Customers leave our store feeling valued and satisfied....
Tesco - Shoreham by Sea
More details

Bar Tender - Hotel du Vin Brighton

You will be required to ensure all guest expectations are met during the bar experience and providing amazing hospitality to our guests....
Hotel Du Vin - Brighton
More details
Organising a conference or event in Brighton?
See our Brighton Conference section.
Brighton web design by ...ntd