Although not as influential, 'Darklands' sounds considerably less dated than its more acclaimed predecessor, 'Psychocandy.' Shorn of their trademark feedback, the melodies are what really shine through on these songs. Sure, the influences are clearly detectable - Beach Boys, Velvet Underground, Stooges - but with just enough of a modern twist to refute the claim of mere imitation.
The first two singles, 'April Skies' and 'Happy When It Rains', are cut from the same cloth - irresistible, chugging rock songs with memorable hooks.
'Deep One Perfect Morning' nods to Johnny Cash, a good 10 years before he became a fashionable name to drop. 'Cherry Came Too' is the best song Brian Wilson never wrote, and 'Fall' will delight anyone who thinks 'I Wanna Be Your Dog' by The Stooges is one of the best rock'n'roll songs ever.
William Reid takes over vocal duties for 3 of the slower songs on the album - the elegant 'Darklands', the epic miserablism of 'Nine Million Rainy Days' and 'On The Wall', to my mind the only duff track on the album.
The album concludes with one of the Reids' warm, acoustic ballads, 'About You.'
I still regularly play this album almost 20 years after it was released. It's an object lesson in how to make a timeless guitar record.