The Darts - Subsonic Dream [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Darts

Subsonic Dream [7-inch] (2018)

Alternative Tentacles / Dirty

The Darts are a relatively new garage punk band out of LA and Phoenix. They’ve been plying their trade in semi-retro garage psychedelia for about two years, but on their latest single, “Subsonic Dream,” it really does feel as though the band has arrived.

The quartet has always dived deep into fuzzed out, reverb, haunting riffage, but the a-side is where the band separates themselves from their contemporaries. Many garage punk bands master the technique, but not the soul of their essence. That is to say, they identify the traits (and even clichés) of the genre, and are content to re-produce those sounds and vibes.

The Darts do make it a point to reference the Nuggets bands- yes, there is an eerie keyboard here, yes, the guitar is straight out of the Keith Richards fuzzbox play book- but after assuming the mantle of garage rock, the band goes truly dark, or if not dark, then ominous. The A-side is rooted in a pounding riff and drum groove, but as the group drips their ghostly vocals over the downward spring procession, the band summons a sort of cracking terror. This track might be fun, but the gals aren’t having fun- they’re peering into the psyche and seeing what evil lurks beneath. Thankfully, they never do the modern garage rock troupe of winking at the listener with “can you believe we’re playing garage rock!” and instead, make the wise decision to be entirely earnest with their influences and submersion into the bleak topic at hand. That’s the way to do it.

Flipside, “Bullet,” is aggressive like it’s a-side sister. But whereas “Subsonic Dream” was more of a slow burn haunt, “Bullet” is a more direct striker. This one is propelled by Jack White style power riffs while the band slashes out, “You’ve a tongue like a bullet/you’ve got a mouth like gun/I’ve got scars like a target…” The band’s detailing the best/worst kind of relationship- one that does you know good but is compelling none-the-less. It’d be one thing of the band was writing by going to the garage rock well, but, with the track’s self-destructive hissing, it’s clear the band is bringing garage rock to them. Recommended.