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Diana Darby | Naked Time (Delmore)
Diana Darby must be very happy with her label - her press kit is expansive and swooning. So swooning, in fact, that in the U.S., this debut has been greeted with euphoria possibly more suited to a new Mary Margaret O'Hara album or suchlike. Whilst I can understand certain aspects of the praise piled upon Naked Time, the dissection of its every word and note is amusingly over-the-top, even for someone as passionate about music as I. So, I'll attempt to present my report in a little less excited manner, particularly as I don't feel as wowed about Naked Time as others. Houston, Texas-born poet and ex-sitcom writer Diana Darby writes songs concerning child abuse, emotional dependency, domestic trauma and dysfunctional relationships amongst other such harrowing, and obviously deeply personal topics. Music concerning such difficult matters, when performed with conviction, can be devastatingly moving. In the case of Naked Time, the lyrics read beautifully on the printed page - as could be expected of someone who has been writing poetry since the age of five - but Ms. Darby's sweet but ordinary voice, and the sparse, pedestrian folk-rock backing simply do not do them justice. The band is fine, but there's so much more that could have been achieved atmospherically, resulting more in a polite musical landscape than the difficult sonic terrain the dark emotions should be traversing. Comparisons have been drawn with Gillian Welch, but not one track holds a candle to, say, her juddering My Morphine. But Diana Darby is a fledgling songwriter, and she will learn how to project her songs in ways most suited to their gravity. Taking this evolution for granted, her next offering should be worth a punt.

Tom Sheriff
June-July 2001

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