Welcome to our new bi-monthly music series featuring the best in new Irish music.
Every second week, we'll profile a new (or relatively new) Irish band or artist, give you a flavour of what they're all about, let you know what they're up to lately, and most importantly, let you hear their music.
The second in the series is Darling.
WHO ARE THEY? They are Gary 'Gaz' Harding and James McGuire, two musicians who have been playing together in various bands and guises for almost a decade. They formed Darling in 2012 with the intention of being "an indie-pop two-piece that would draw heavily from '80s acts like OMD and Tears For Fears whilst still staying true to our love of modern guitar music," according to Harding.
WHERE ARE THEY FROM? Dublin.
WHAT'S WITH THE NAME? "We wanted something effeminate-sounding," says Harding. "Darling popped into my head one day and we immediately loved it."
WHAT DO THEY SOUND LIKE? In their own words, "shiny, sparkly pop"; to our ears, you can certainly hear the '80s vibe they're going from on songs like the anthemic 'Echo', which sounds close to Simple Minds. Others, like 'Sail Away' bring a synthy, electronic slant to their guitar rock sound, and new track 'It's Just One Look' is a bouncy, jangly radio-friendly number.
WHO ARE THEIR INFLUENCES? "We spent loads of time listening to what I would consider incredible songwriters - everyone from Burt Bacharach to Taylor Swift," Harding explains. "Just seeing what makes a good song good, and trying to apply that to our own work."
WHO HAVE THEY WORKED WITH TO DATE? Well, they've only released one EP to date but have already worked with British producer Stephen Lipson, who has his name on records by the likes of Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Pet Shop Boys, Kelly Clarkson, Johnny Marr and Cher – which seems like a perfect fit for Darling's guitar-pop sound. "Once we were happy with out collection of songs, we made a wishlist of producers," says Harding. "Steve actually wasn't on that list - but a copy of our stuff crossed his desk during that process and he got in touch to see would we be interested in going over to him. We listened to what he'd done already and immediately agreed."
WHAT'S NEXT? Their second EP 'Darling' is released via Faction Records on January 30th (artwork above), and you can see them live at Dublin's Sugar Club on January 31st. An album is in the works for next year, too, reveals Harding. "We want the EP to build our profile here and in the UK, and for something to spark from it," he says. "Something out of the ordinary to happen."
CAN I HAVE A LISTEN? Listen to 'Echoes' and 'Sail Away' below.
MORE: Read our previous installment in the New Irish Music series here.