For every great band, there’s a humble beginning. For the Boston-based Darlingside, that beginning was a show at The Lilypad, that petite-but-popular venue in Inman square that’s birthed many an indie act over the years.
“[It] was a collaborative performance with our (still!) good friend Caitlin Canty,” the band’s violinist & mandolinist, Auyon Mukharji, tells me. “The promotional materials, dug up from the depths of my Gmail barrel, promise ‘original music’ and ‘full-band arrangements.’ Take nothing for granted.”
This off-hand caution is a wise one when listening to Darlingside. While their music style brings fair comparison to Simon & Garfunkel or Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, their lyrics deliver an unexpected one-two punch of forward-looking concerns, combined with airy pop culture references. And even as the band employs the usual folk instruments – banjo, mandolin, and harmonium, among others – they serve it up with funky feedback and textured effects that lend a smack of psychedelia to their instrumentation.
But where does this wild eclecticism stem from? At first, the source seems to be the band’s inability to take themselves too seriously. It shows in their pre-performance chant of ‘I’m the prettiest boy,’ (in harmony, of course), and in the way they describe their music – three words to define them?
“Harmonies. Serious… sometimes,” says Mukharji.“'In The Morning,' one of the first songs we wrote as a group, came together through a lyric-writing exercise wherein each participant brainstormed some ideas and then passed those ideas along to the next participant...” he explains. “Our collaborative writing process has evolved and shifted plenty… but we still find group lyric-writing exercises (and each other!) productive and enjoyable.”
In short, it’s clear that the band delights in their work. But this joy isn’t the only place that their creativity comes from. Darlingside also draws their wit and thoughtfulness from an extensive variety of inspiring sources. “Music, art, books movies, food, our friends, our families, our partners, our hometowns,” Mukharji rattles off. “'Eschaton,' the first track we released from our soon-to-be-released album Extralife, features a BU Bridge shout-out.”
Extralife is their third album, due out on February 23rd. A follow-up to 2015’s Birds Say and 2012’s Pilot Machines, it's already garnering rave reviews for it's introspection and apparent hope in the face of apocalypse. And March 22nd will give you the chance to catch the band live at The Sinclair in Cambridge, followed by a show on March 24th at Northampton's Academy of Music Theatre. But if you simply can’t wait to start listening, catch up with them on Spotify, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.