When: Sun., Jan. 31, 7 p.m. 2016
There’s no denying the seamless way the four members of Darlingside blend their ethereal voices on the group’s recent sophomore album, Birds Say (Thirty Tigers). The singing brings an almost angelic splendor to anthemic folk rock. And the mix of guitars, mandolin, banjos, and harmonium—among other baroque touches—is meticulously achieved on songs that add an indie-rock flair to rustic roots. But the voices command center stage. The musicians got their start a decade ago singing a cappella at Williams College, which can be heard in the ease with which they harmonize. Still, the melodies feel like petri-dish formulations of music you’d hear in current TV commercials, where group-harmony folk-pop clones seem inescapable. Luckily, Darlingside’s arrangements are more interesting. At their best they lean closer to Simon & Garfunkel than the Lumineers—but I’m not convinced quite yet.