Darwin Deez: Constellations
Not many people can start a song by cribbing “Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star” as the opening line and get away with it, but then again, Darwin Deez has always been nothing less than utterly original. From his unorthodox beginnings as a child of Baba Lovers (followers of Avatar Meher Baba, like Pete Townshend) to fleeing Wesleyan University to start a band in New York City, to his method of playing a 4-string electric guitar in his own invented, secret tuning, nothing about Mr Deez can be described as remotely conventional. His live sets, for instance, feature original songs intercut with harsh electronic noise and spontaneous bouts of synchronised dancing to custom pop mash-ups.
Cryptically described on his website as “happy music for sad people/ white music for black people”, Darwin’s particular strain of music is located at the crossroads of the wittily ironic and warmly inclusive – effortlessly infectious songs with a deadpan sense of humour; or Arthur Russell when he lived in the East Village, but with an even more accentuated penchant for droll wordplay, as well as one for spontaneous tap dancing. This self-professed hipster may ooze arch, off-kilter cool, but at the same time there is a deep, reverential love of the big, bold strokes of the perfect pop song, as showcased on this, his debut single.
“Constellations” is a nigh-on untouchable mini-pop classic, rolling together ebullient guitar strokes, handclaps, and a childlike sense of awe (“if freckles don’t mean anything, does anything mean anything?”) into a fizzing ball and kicking it high into the air. At once oddball and heartfelt, tender and funny, spiky yet insouciant; Darwin Deez strolls nonchalantly through these contradictory states, humming his own distinctive tune, going his own singular way.
“the debut single from darwin deez, totally f****** awesome“ NME