Album Review: “Dark Celebration” by The Darling Fire

A Fire Album

by: Ryan Waldis
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Fire: noun, often attributive (ˈfī(-ə)r) – Something that is really good, amazing, crazy (in a good way)

I think one of the most powerful aspects of music is its ability to evoke a strong sense of nostalgia or reminiscence. The Darling Fire’s debut album Dark Celebration recently had this effect on me. Many of the songs on the album would seemingly fit in well on a track list for an early-2000s sports video game title (Madden or MLB 2K, for example), and the more times that I metaphorically spun the aforementioned record, the more I found myself traveling back to a time in my life when things were much simpler.Perhaps simpler isn’t the right adjective, though, as Dark Celebration also caused me to feel angsty, reflective, dejected and inspired all simultaneously; it’s almost as if the album kick-started another emo phase for me.

It’s truly remarkable what the quintet of Jolie Lindholm (vocals/guitar), Jeronimo Gomez (guitar), Matthew Short (guitar), Gregg Moore (bass) and Steven Kleisath (drums) were able to collectively produce, as Dark Celebration will likely end up being one of my favorite new albums of the year.

Some of the above names will likely sound familiar if you’ve found yourself intertwined with the alternative, rock, emo and/or indie scenes at any point within the last two decades. The Darling Fire boast an impressive collective resumé when it comes to both current and former bands each have been a part of.

With a long list of groups including Dashboard Confessional, Further Seems Forever, The Rocking Horse Winner (who deserved way more attention than they actually received) Shai Hulud and Poison the Well among others, each band member brought a host of influences and experience to the table and it shows.

Vocally, Lindholm sounds as good as she ever has. Her prowess behind the microphone really helps propel this album towards must-listen status; she’s serious and shadowy but soothing and almost spiritual at the same time. Her voice is also noticeably inviting to those who might be hesitant to give this album a chance. Likewise, the lyrics that Lindholm penned for Dark Celebration are captivating and stimulating. In an interview with Brooklyn Vegan, Lindholm explained, “[the band] came together at a time when most of us had recently been through something traumatic.”

While dark and heavy themes are present throughout the album, they’re definitely nuanced due to the lyrical work of Lindholm.

Dark Celebration is also filled with a plethora of bold but smooth guitar riffs that quickly became ingrained in my head. Although there were plenty to choose from, my personal favorite riffs on the album were found on “Omaha,” “In Twilight” and “Saints in Masquerade.” The last song in that trio also turned out to be my favorite track overall; the band members complimented each other perfectly with their combination of the noteworthy vocals, sublime guitar melodies, and first-rate drum work (sidenote: be sure to check out the music video for this song, it’s incredible).

That’s not meant to discount the other seven songs on Dark Celebration, though. When I reviewed Like Pacific’s In Spite of Me almost a year ago, I talked about how rare it was for me to listen to an album and not find one song that I don’t totally vibe with. That wasn’t the case for Dark Celebration—each track spoke to me immediately.

Dark Celebration is currently available on all of your favorite music streaming services. You can purchase a digital version on The Darling Fire’s Bandcamp for $7.99 or on vinyl for $19.99. The five-piece band is currently touring throughout Florida as well; below are the dates and locations for their upcoming gigs:

July 20th, 7:30 PM: Swampgrass Willy’s in Palm Beach Gardens

July 26th, 9:00 PM: Inchoate Art Studio in Oakland Park

July 27th, 7:30 PM: Crowbar in Tampa

Kleisath has mentioned that the band looks forward “to sharing our recordings and performing them live often, for listeners that may know us from our other groups, as well as new listeners that have discovered us,” so be sure to keep an eye out to see if The Darling Fire is coming to an establishment near you; I certainly will be.

Dark Celebration is We Pod Approved with a 9 out of 10.

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