There are moments in Streaking in Tongues’ Oh My Darlin’, such as the closing track “I’m Gonna Love the Hell out of You,” that are so distant in tone that it’s almost as though we’re hearing the music through an existential filtration. There are others, like the volatile “Nothing Quite Like It in the World,” that are so raw and enriched by the lack of boundaries between artist and audience that it’s almost impossible for us to avoid the sonic blows as they come ripping out of the bassline only to crash into anything that stands in their way. Acoustic volleys are as abundant in “A Blessing I Can’t Earn” as blues riff-rock is in “Sure as Heaven,” acapella chills are in “My Single Wife” and garage rock machismo is in “We’re Still Gonna Be All Right.” There are no two songs quite alike in Oh My Darlin’, but as anyone who has familiarized themselves with the works of Streaking in Tongues is already well aware, aesthetical diversity comes with any and every record this father/son duo creates.
The production quality here is excellently avant-garde, and although I’m probably a lot pickier than most fans of the genre are, I was really satisfied with the way this album was produced from the jump. There aren’t any frills in tracks like “Irrational Blues,” the poppy “Rock n Roll Will Never Love You Like I Do” and longing ballad “Fear of Limbo;” truth be told, I couldn’t find a single bell or whistle in this record that didn’t belong right where it was placed.
We feel the passion of the play not only through the lyrics of “Screw Up” but via the melodic whirl of “Inside out and on My Ass” and the blustery howl of “Sunlight of a Thousand Babes.” Streaking in Tongues aren’t content to merely present us with a narrative through the conventional means of a hot hook or an affectionate lyric; they want to use the soundboard itself as an agent of evocation in “Wait Wait Wait Wait Wait for Me” and the noisy pop tune “Damn Machine,” and it’s a technique that I would really love to see their mainstream rivals try for themselves sometime.
ALBUM TRAILER: www.youtube.com/watch?v=uywLH_lEdUI
If this LP is just a taste of what’s still to come for this awesomely talented pair of aural poets, I can’t imagine their music staying under the radar beyond this decade (which, in two months’ time, will be over). In the last couple of years, critics have come to adore Streaking in Tongues for their home-style harmonies and breathtakingly emotive experiments in noise and pop nuance, and what they deliver unto us in Oh My Darlin’ might be the quintessential release of their career together.
If the menacing throttle of “Sure as Heaven” doesn’t have you on the edge of your seats, the ghostly grooving of “Our Love (Couldn’t Outrun a Train)” almost definitely will, and even if it takes a couple of listens to fully engage with the cunning nucleus of this album, it’s an undertaking that I would still tell every American music enthusiast to explore this October.