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Darlingside

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"It's over now / The flag is sunk / The world has flattened out," are the first words of Extralife, a new album by the Boston-based quartet Darlingside.
While the band's critically acclaimed 2015 release Birds Say was steeped in nostalgia and the conviction of youth, Extralife grapples with dystopian realities and uncertain futures. Whether ambling down a sidewalk after the apocalypse or getting stuck in a video game for eternity, the band asks, sometimes cynically, sometimes playfully: what comes next? Their erstwhile innocence is now bloodshot for the better.
Hope arrives in the form of Darlingside's signature superpower harmonies and a cautious-yet-seductive optimism. Despite despondent references to sunken forests and radioactive precipitation in "Futures," we’re encouraged through time-traveling radio transmissions that “It’s not ever too late." "Eschaton" is similarly forthright, declaring "No matter what we’ve been / We are the upshot now.” Its axis-flipped, Escher-mimicking lyrics sketch a variation on the End Times that suggests it’s actually preventable.
As “Best Of The Best Of Times” posits “whether our days are unnumbered,” we listeners are compelled to ask if we are truly headed towards Game Over. Extralife offers no sure answers, but “Orion” offers some guidance in preventing the “what is now” from cementing the “what might be” explored across this brave new album: “It’s looking like the start or the end / Either way ahead is around the bend.”

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