Don't let the name fool you: Those Darlins are about as sweet as Sour Patch Kids. Four years ago, the Nashville quartet released a self-titled debut of mostly raunchy punk-country jams with more attitude than ambition. There's plenty of punch on the band's latest offering, Blur the Line
, but there's also a sly undertone of aggression that blooms with sizzling guitar work and lead singer Jessi Zazu's treacherous vocals.
Blur the Line
comes after a particularly rough patch for the Darlins. Earlier this year, it was announced that bassist and founding member Kelley Anderson was leaving the band. The remaining three members struggled with the transition until they elected Adrian Barrera to take her spot. A lot of self-reflection and dark uncertainty can be heard on Blur the Line
, and particularly on the scorching single "Oh God."
Ahead of the band's show this Thursday at RecordBar, we chatted with Zazu from the road about the new album, the changeover and, obviously, Robin Thicke.
The Pitch: This album feels really different to me - a little more spacious, a little more grown-up.
: It is more grown-up because we're more grown-up. All the records that we've done reflect the state that we were in when we wrote them, so in a way, that's a good observation. I think, also, another reason that it's a little more mature is because we had a lot more patience in the process of making this album and put a lot more time into it. We worked it until we couldn't work it anymore and were really satisfied with all the songs and with the recordings.
I have to ask - did you know about Robin Thicke's song "Blurred Lines" when you were titling your album?
[Laughs.] No. We had no idea. It was literally right after we announced the album and title that his video became known to us. I'm not sure if it had just come out, or if we just hadn't heard of it, but it was just a minute too late to even change the title of ours. We were just like, "Uh... . That's a weird coincidence."
That's crazy. Would you have changed it if you had known ahead of time?
Well, we were considering some other names anyway. I mean, that was definitely the strongest choice in terms of summing up the theme of the entire album, we felt, so it was definitely the best choice, but I would have for sure tried to consider some other options. When you have someone that huge with something so similar, it's gonna eat up a lot of the... You know, if people type it into Google, they won't see us. So we probably would have considered changing it a little bit more. We're not really too stressed about it, though. Everything happens for a reason. I can't really figure that one out. [Laughs.]
Do you like the album? I mean, not Robin Thicke's but yours,
Blur the Line. Are you happy with it?
[Laughs,] Oh yeah, completely satisfied. I'm more proud of it than any other body of work that I've ever done in my life.
How is the band working out without Kelley [Anderson]? You replaced her with Adrian [Barrera] fairly recently. How's everything going?
It's been really good. As always, it's a challenge to change personal dynamics, and we had someone else who was filling in for about a year or two in between, so we've been in transition for a while. We've only been with Adrian since February. It's been good. It has had its challenges, but I would say that it felt easier with him than I can imagine it would be with a lot of people. His personality was a fit with ours pretty naturally, so that's been good. And I always thought that would be the case, but you never know until you get onstage with someone or get in the studio.