If you’ve heard of this, it’s probably because you heard Fucked Up guitarist Ben Cook is a part of it. That much is true. Depending on what websites you read, you may have also heard that this band, Marvelous Darlings, brandishes “Yellow Pills-worthy hooks shot through with an extra dose of snottiness” or is “killer shit” that “walks the lines between garage, powerpop, and punk.” That last statement is true, about the line-walking, but the hooks are largely absent, and that’s a major problem.
A cursory glance at the finest purveyors of this type of music, from Gentleman Jesse to Exploding Hearts to the Undertones to Cheap Trick, shows that the finest reason for getting down with power pop-inclined songwriters is their ability to craft those special melodies that stick to your insides. Those indelible, infectious choruses that any mere mortal is powerless to stop. Fantastic hooks: That’s the point.
Unfortunately, here we get a batch of songs that are serviceable, but not memorable. They’re amateurish, which wouldn’t be a problem—see: any lo-fi kid making good in the last five years—if there was something to grasp onto. Instead, we’re left with warmed over guitar riffs, lackluster choruses, songs that should’ve stayed in the basements where they were played for “20 goths and four skater dudes,” as this album’s press materials so aptly boasts.
Indeed, what we’re left with is a good-not-great collection of 21 songs for either a) Fucked Up super fans who simply want to own everything, maaaan, or b) power-pop completists who simply have so many out-of-print 7-inches, Numero comps and import rarities that they’re craving anything and everything that fits a very particular stylistic niche. Everyone else may as well steer clear.