Darlingside has long been praised for their mesmerizing harmonies and wistful songwriting, described by NPR as “exquisitely-arranged, literary-minded, baroque Folk-Pop,” and compared to Crosby, Stills and Nash; Simon & Garfunkel; and The Byrds.
If Darlingside’s first album, Birds Say (2015), focused on the past through nostalgia, and their second, Extralife (2018), contemplated uncertain futures, Fish Pond Fish stands firmly in the present, looking at what’s here, now. Dave Senft (bass), Don Mitchell (guitar, banjo), Auyon Mukharji (violin, mandolin), and Harris Paseltiner (cello, guitar) have created a natural history in song—taking us into gardens, almond groves, orchard rows, down to the ocean floor and under stars.
The band, which saw their ten-year anniversary in May of 2020, has long been praised for their harmonies and intelligent songwriting, described by NPR as “exquisitely-arranged, literary-minded, baroque Folk-Pop,” and which The New Yorker compared to David Crosby and the Byrds. Their dynamic presence (crowded tightly together onstage for the audience to witness four voices turn to a singular texture of sound), paired with their sharp wit and wordplay, have made them a live-performance favorite, and their songs treasures for literary and lyric-loving fans.
But this album showcases their broader storytelling abilities: nature is a looking glass, the songs suggest, with tracks like “Ocean Bed,” “Green + Evergreen,” “Mountain + Sea” and “Crystal Caving” making metaphors of their titles. An experience of nature is an experience of self; an experience of self is one of natural change cut and complemented by stasis.
The band started studio recording Fish Pond Fish in late 2019, when they moved into Tarquin Studios—the residential studio of Grammy Award-winning producer Peter Katis (Interpol, The National). Living and working together brought them to their very early years under one roof in Hadley, Massachusetts, which had seeded the origins of their intimate collaboration. At Katis’s suggestion, many components of the initial demos were preserved as layers in the produced tracks to retain the spirit of the initial recordings, resulting in a collection of songs that is simultaneously the most bedroom-tracked and production-heavy full-length album that the band has yet released.
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