For a band that has been labeled with a Napoleon Dynamite aesthetic, Darwin Deez is lacking in the areas of adolescent awkwardness that haunt so many of us through our 20s and the further armpits of adulthood. Instead, they use their imperfections to make music that empowers the Napoleon Dynamite in all of us, with frontman Darwin Smith singing about the kind of inevitable heartbreak that accompanies crushing on the most popular girl in school. They’ve released two full length LPs consisting of “happy songs for sad people,” and two years after the last release, they’ve returned with a new single “Kill Your Attitude.”
The song begins with Smith forcefully enunciating the first lyric, an immediate reminder of the pure, glossy timbre of his voice that punctures the low-fi background instrumentation. Smith’s guitar that follows right behind wobbles in familiar treble-heavy clarity, a large component in the group’s characteristic sound. Forget the oversaturated reverb, shoegaze-dream-synth-whatever that’s been filling your Spotify. For a song titled “Kill Your Attitude,” Smith sings with a biting attitude of his own, condemning his antagonist with lyrics like “You wanna play games, scrap the doormat and leave a landmine/Who should I say gains when you lose your mind?”
It’s not until the chorus that Smith reveals some of his own vulnerability, the only section of the song that introduces nuanced harmonies, Smith singing with tenderness as he empathizes with the song’s villain, “You know I’m mad at you still, and I know you’re mad at me/But when your batteries die, don’t come untied.”
Deez’s live show theatrics and dance routines have gained them enormous success in the UK, and it’s a bummer to see that he’ll be touring across the pond through late October, but we can only hope that the release of “Kill Your Attitude” is an indication of more new material coming our way in the near future.