House-rocking garage trio Danny & the Darleans materialized in early 2010, one of a long line of bands started by Danny Kroha, founding member of Detroit garage punk legends the Gories. Their 12-song debut album refines some of the savage bombast of the Gories and loses almost all of the glam camp of Kroha's other act Demolition Doll Rods. Backed by fireball drummer Richie Wohlfeil (who also did time behind the kit for Detroit Cobras, Mother Whale, Saturday Looks Good to Me, and many other Michigan acts) and bassist Colleen Burke (once keyboardist for Chicago art-punks We Ragazzi and current bassplayer for Detroit's Outrageous Cherry), the garage rock of the Darleans is a more sophisticated affair.
They're something of a party band, so the tunes here are often lighthearted, excitable, fun, and rowdy, but the record also holds undercurrents of heaviness and almost a science fiction sense of dread. Between bounding from the full-band vocal rave-up cover of the Strangeloves' bubblegum soul gem "It's About My Baby" into pre-Velvet Underground Lou Reed jammer "You're Driving Me Insane," the band slows things down with heartbroken dirges like "How Many Times" or the end-of-the-world feedback and sludge of "Les Fleurs Du Mal."
While Kroha's voice bends between doomy theatrics and drunken swagger, Burke's fluid basslines and Wohlfeil's scatterbrained and trashy drumming blend the songs into seamless bursts of energy and slinking crawls of Midwestern anxiety. There's not a dud in the bunch, and the production is uncomplicated and not overly retro-fitting, the vintage mikes and analog recording suiting the songs perfectly in lieu of an attempt to stuff them into a backwards-looking forced nostalgia. The result is an electric album of Detroit music that swings a pendulum between carefree cool and cracked comic book paranoia, but manages to stay fun, exciting, and lively even in the darkest moments. A distinctly Michigan perspective and a document of some of the most straightforward, unquestionable, dead-on rock & roll of its era. (text: Fred Thomas, allmusic.com)
"Danny Kroha, with his Darleans ably backing him up, is part Baptist preacher, part James Brown, part Warhol-ian androgyny, part Detroit auto assembly worker. It’s a potent combo when crashing around on a stage, and one that would amount to diddly-squat if the tunes were shitty. Thankfully, they’re not." (– Brett Callwood, City Slang)