2017:     PAGE 1
'Bonsai Mammoth'

(Lockjaw / Blind Attack)

ebruary 3rd 2017
These days promo Cd's are usually by
bands who have absolutely nothing in
common with punk musically or
, but you have to review
them just in case they might surprise
I was hoping Darko may prove
me wrong.
'Bonsai Mammoth' kicks off
quite melodically until the shouty
vocals of Dan Smith kick in, which have
a few less frantic moments during first
track 'Life Forms'. But I'm afraid it was
just the precursor for what we are
about to hear and it all went downhill
pretty fast from here on in. What
grates most about the
Darko sound is
definitely the gnarly vocals, which
really do put your audio attention span
through an endurance test just to sit
through even after one track. And lets
not forget there are 9 more of these
fuckers on this release. The music is
played tight and the production is bang
on, but
theres no immediate flow. It
stops and starts with infuriating
monotony, then goes off on a tangent
with annoying regularity. A sound that
goes melodic one second, then rages
on in another, then goes into HM
twiddling country and thats all in one
song. It's like
the Darko philosophy is
tinker with the song structure once
they hit on somert
good, which is a
shame as they can play with precision
and power but their style is so mind
ly varied it becomes a mess. It
seems playing the same rivvum track
for any length of time is unacceptable
in this bands ideology. They are either
way too clever for their own good or
just like showing off
, which just leaves
us the audience with a mass of
schizophrenia to deal with. I also get
the feeling we have a Heavy Metal
guitarist in their ranks just waiting to
explode from their stop/start hardcore
confines? Meanwhile Smithy screams
on and on and on in the foreground.
His vocals do have the capacity to
change direction, which could've
him from being the prime suspect
, but
like the music its all too little or too late
before that mind numbing screech
takes over his sand papered
esophagus. There are some pop punk
elements too if your lucky enough to
spot em, but these are way to
o fleeting
to catapult these hairy fuckers for a
career of pop punk hits.
Darko are
destined to be touring the indie circuit
of skater spaces and empty swimming
pools across the globe
, which is great
if thats what they really w
ant or the
promo machine behind them want?

However they must be eternally
grateful to the Japs, who seem to like
em, but we all know Japan is a dishpan.
'Set In Our Ways' seems to be the
story of this bands life. They aren't
about to offer a new direction or a
more anthemic style that we could
maybe wrap our ears around or
capture our interest
. But I did like the
title of one song 'I Should've Taken A
Left At Albuquerque'
, but the title alone
was about it and I'm afraid they didn
carry on driving to the
Mexican border
and beyond
. I reckon Darko are a
romanticised wanna be 'road band'
. If
hey really wanna break America so
badly, they ain't gonna do it on this
. Besides i suspect there are
way more qualified bands doing this
routine in the States already and if you
know of any please don't point em in
my direction. I  did like the beginning of
'Hiraeth' for about
10 secs, but then
the singing kicked in and it all
deteriorated into more of the same. I'm
sure even the skater punks amongst
(whom I'm told are Darko's core
) must get sick and tired of
particular sound. They hail from
Guilford but have about as much in
with the Stranglers IV as the
Guilford four. Was half hoping 'In The
Company Of Wolves' may just show a
glimmer of gold dust amongst the
torturous toons but who the fuck was i
kidding. This album should be used in
Guatemala Bay as audio torture it's
that unpleasant.
'Bonsai Mammoth'
ain't punk rock
, its a student take on
fast songs for the
Darko fan club in
Tokyo or wherever they reside and
probably features like minded
individuals with big bushy beards and
lots of sweaty testo
sterone growling
along in synchro
nised head banging.