Article - Those Darlins ain’t another country chick band

The Murfreesboro, Tenn., trio seethes with emotional twang and debauchery

The inner-sleeve of Those Darlins’ self-titled debut CD features a noir-ish black and white photo of three ladies — Nikki, Jessi and Kelley Darlin — huddled in a corner at some dive bar, drinks half-drunk. Each one of them looks like a rural siren, brandishing poker faces at once devious and doe-eyed.

There’s awesome trouble lingering in the allure of the Murfreesboro, Tenn., trio’s rollicking country and rock ’n’ roll numbers that seethe with emotional twang and rich tales of debauchery in the wilds of middle Tennessee.

The group’s dichotomy is best illustrated in the opening line of their lament to being reckless women, “Wild One.” Vocalist and ukulele strummer Nikki Darlin sweetly croons, “I may be a little darling gal of yours/That’s when I’m straight and sober and both feet are on the floor/But sometimes when the booze gets a hold of me/I get the devil in my eyes and I’m running wild and free.”

The ease and poetic flow with which she concedes her demons underscores why these Darlins’ aren’t another girly, pop-country construct strumming naïve, lovelorn diary entries. Guitar/bass players Jessi and Kelley, along with drummer Linwood Regensburg Jr., waltz through bold, so-what ruminations in “Hung Up On Me” and “The Whole Damn Thing,” which unfold like Bukowski novellas where relationships turn erratic, heroic amounts of booze are consumed, and a DUI lurks in the distance.

Like the Ramones, Those Darlins approach their songs with a combination of concise melodies and sharp wit that reflects the real-life passion and danger of playing with fire.

At the very heart of their sound lies a reviving of old-school country thrills, but being called country fills them with dread. “We get pigeonholed as a country band a lot, but we’re much more of a rock and roll band than what someone like Taylor Swift does, or whatever it is that people call country music now,” offers Nikki. “If that’s country, that’s not what we do.”