He may be the second member of Bell X1 to go solo, but David Geraghty was harbouring plans to break from the 9-5 grind long before Neosupervital was a twinkle in his colleague Tim O'Donovan's eye. As lead guitarist of the Irish band formerly known as Juniper, Geraghty formed his first side project, spiky indie merchants The Rotators, as far back as 2004; but fans hoping for more of the same edgy rock-staples here would do best to avoid Kill Your Darlings. For one, it's an incredibly slow-burning album, and its lack of immediacy is bound to frustrate some - but with that slow-burning quality also comes a colossally-rewarding listening experience. Drawing from the unlikely reference points of latent jazz, old-time war songs and lush, easygoing lounge ballads, Geraghty turns up one surprise after another on Kill Your Darlings. Opener Ragdoll is predictable-enough fare, all rolling guitars and plush double bass - but the following couplet, string-laden ditty Back Seat and attitudal, finger-clicking piano number Kaleidoscope help turn the album into a different beast altogether. Single Fear the Hitcher is probably the most straightforward, hard-hitting track here, its intense, eerie synth riff proving that Geraghty's pop sensibility is still very much intact, while It Won't Belong's gloopy electro undertones are disquieting in places. Worth mentioning, too, are female vocalist Clare Finglass's dulcet, sultry tones - best heard on gorgeous ballad Delgadina - which provide the perfect foil to Geraghty's own sometimes-gloomy vocals. Kill Your Darlings is far from perfect, as there are more than a few unremarkable, uninspired moments (most notably standard acoustic, folky numbers Cracked Skull and El Nino) - but really, Geraghty should be credited for an album that's more inventive, well-crafted and enduring than anything his bandmates have managed so far.
Review by Lauren Murphy | 09:00 | Monday 1st October 2007 | Album Review