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    


At just thirty-one, Kate Tempest is set to be the youngest Brighton Festival Guest Director to date, taking the mantle from pioneering artist and musician Laurie Anderson, who led the 50th Brighton Festival this year. 

Director Sean Foley returns to the Theatre Royal Brighton with this perfectly-timed revival of Ronald Harwood's 1980 play, The Dresser
Pic By Warren Meadows

Being an iconic band is all about chemistry. Be they the Beatles, Small Faces, the Who, the Jam or the Stranglers. It's the mix of the individuals that makes the perfect whole.

Two acclaimed albums and an upcoming U.S. tour — Joy Division had the world at their feet. Then, on the eve of that tour and the beginning of what would surely have been an international success story, the band's troubled lead singer, Ian Curtis, killed himself.

Bobby Gillespie didn't think he'd make it to thirty, yet here he is at the age of fifty-four on the cusp of releasing new single Feeling Like A Demon Again, and paying a visit to Brighton to support Primal Scream's critically acclaimed new album, Chaosmosis.

The writer, musician and entrepreneur, Chris Wade, first came to our attention when he penned an insightful and in-depth account of one time Stranglers' frontman Hugh Cornwell's 2008 solo album, Hoover Dam.

A half-century long career can be a minefield to dissect, especially when there's a back catalogue that boasts as many twists and turns as a Formula 1 track, and just as many cohorts discarded in the never ending search for 'the muse'.

It's the ultimate rock 'n' roll road trip. In 2016, on the 90th anniversary of the opening of America's 'Mother Road', Brightonians Suzanne Rolfe and Melita Dennett spent five weeks travelling the dirt roads and gravel byways of Route 66.


American experimental rock band Swans, led by Michael Gira, formed in 1982 and, after disbanding in 1997, returned with three critically acclaimed albums, beginning with My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky (2010).

From its nebulous beginnings in the latter part of the 50’s the peacock male's rise into the conscious of the nation has been well documented. 

David Baddiel travelled on Virgin Trains over the summer months across the UK on both the east and west coast routes to create new children's fiction. 

They were the overnight success that was almost 40 years in the making.The Very Reverend Eugene O’Hagan, Martin O’Hagan and David Delargy – collectively known as The Priests – were catapulted to fame when they signed a major recording deal in 2008. Number one hits, a rumoured duet with Lady Gaga and interest from Australia, the USA and Europe followed.

Chris Levine, who previously collaborated with Kate Moss, Grace Jones and Massive Attack, has unveiled his new work - a spectacular immersive sound and light installation which is set to become one of the iconic events that form the Root 1066 International Festival in Hastings.

Singer Alison Moyet, who has experienced dementia within her family, will walk beside thousands of others who have been affected by the condition at the Brighton Memory Walk.

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...







Organising a conference or event in Brighton?
See our Brighton Conference section.
Brighton web design by ...ntd