Darlingside – Fish Pond Fish
Boston-based indie folk four-piece Darlingside could never have expected 2020. In late 2019, the group began working on Fish Pond Fish while staying at the residential studio of Grammy-winning producer Peter Katis (Interpol, The National). Band members Dave Senft (vocals, bass), Don Mitchell (vocals, guitar, banjo), Auyon Mukharji (vocals, violin, mandolin), and Harris Paseltiner (vocals, cello, guitar) wanted to return to their roots and the early days of the ensemble, when they had lived and written music together. As the pandemic struck, they were forced to isolate, meaning the album consists of a mixture of songs created in the studio in highly intimate, collaborative conditions and the anthesis: tracks produced in self-isolation. It is testament to their skill that it is impossible to tell which numbers fall into which category, and the record has a seamless, dreamlike quality.
Darlingside’s tender instrumental arrangements and evocative harmonies work perfectly in the collection. Each song offers an ode to nature, whether it be taking the listener into the “churned up” depths of the sea in Ocean Bed, or gazing into the leaves of a forest canopy in Green+ Evergreen, watching as “the lemon light was alkalining”. For those new to the band or perhaps less inclined to folk, both of these tracks, along with Crystal Caving, could be the place to start, with their catchy indie-pop feel. A Light on in the Dark embodies the group’s distinctive style, while Time Will Be could easily be adopted as an anthem for present times. All the lyrics have a visionary, poetic quality, with exquisite harmonies adding a depth – and at times, pangs of melancholy – to the music. It is an album to lose yourself in.
Darlingside have created a record which offers a catharsis and gentle positivity perfect for the current climate. The numbers are consistently excellent and when listened to in its entirety, the compilation feels like a discovery; either of the natural world or of a sense of calm and contemplation missing in our lives. This release, which could not have come at a better time, is arguably the band’s best work to date.
Photo: Robb Stey
Fish Pond Fish is released on 9th October 2020. For further information or to order the album visit Darlingside’s website here.
Watch the video for Green + Evergreen here: