Brighton search

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

Related Images


   

Brighton's festival of visual art and domestic space, has announced Yinka Shonibare MBE as the Invited Artist for its sixth edition, in co-commission with Brighton Festival 2014.

Inspired by the immigration, migration and refuge themes of HOUSE 2014, The British Library is presented in the dramatic Ed... more >>


The Whitehawk Camp partnership has received £99,300 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for an exciting community archaeology project based in Brighton.

Local residents will work with professional and skilled volunteers on the nationally important archaeological monument in Whitehawk.&nb... more >>


Films from Cinema of Childhood, curated by filmmaker Mark Cousins and inspired by his latest feature documentary, A Story Of Children And Film, will feature at the Brighton Festival.

“These are some of the best films you've never had a chance to see,” Cousins says. 


A host of high profile acts have been added to the line-up for the Sussex-based Jazz FM’s Love Supreme Jazz Festivalincluding alternative hip hop pioneers De La Soul, who will play songs from their illustrious 25-year career as a full 10 piece live band.

Irish rockabilly star Imelda May, showcasing music from her brand new album Tribal,and acid jazz legends I... more >>


Following the success of his first UK shows in 30 years, in 2012, Michael Nesmith, the woollen hat wearing Monkee, producer, multi-instrumentalist and country rock pioneer will be returning to the UK this year and playing the Hove Centre.

Nesmith will be joined by a full band and will perform songs spanning his entire career, from his folk music beginnings through to the pre... more >>


Glyndebourne, in Sussex, has launched a national art competition inviting talented and aspiring young artists to design the cover of its 2014 Tour Programme. 

The winning artist will see their artwork grace the cover of 10,000 copies of the Glyndebourne Tour Programme and be commerc... more >>


Brighton Pride has a purpose. It's a celebration and a fundraiser but it's also an opportunity to remember, and to stand beside those living in countries where homosexuality is a crime. 

Not a day goes by without news of prosecutions, arrests, beatings and much worse. 

Bullies go unpunished. Mo... more >>


You won't find bored adults that feel compelled to do the hokey cokey through gritted teeth, and you won't see kids covering their ears to the crashes and clangs of heavy metal. 

No, no, no. Funk The Family isn't just about the kids or the adults.  more >>


A unique project that brought together 45 schools and 2,407 school children from Hampshire, West Sussex and East Sussex to create art work inspired by the South Downs National Park will culminate in a special exhibition this summer. 

Our School Downs Exhibition is the largest yet thanks to a partnership with the South Downs National... more >>


A walking tour of Brighton starts its new season in April. Only in Brighton, led by local tour guide and performer Ric Morris, highlights the curiosities of the city.

This April is the 40th Anniversary of Abba's Eurovision win held at Brighton Dome, a fact whi... more >>


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