Alfred Darlington (a.k.a. Daedelus) is a dandy fella who usually has a keen nose for […]
Alfred Darlington (a.k.a. Daedelus) is a dandy fella who usually has a keen nose for grooves he exhumes from discarded pop records hidden below the stacks of one-dollar Streisand albums that pollute LA’s thrift shops. At his best, he floats in a psychedelic hip-hop/IDM realm that can recall De La Soul’s “D.A.I.S.Y. Age.” That said, Bespoke often shoots for the psych virtue of sensory overload and instead ends up a frustrating mess.
Sometimes the kitchen-sink ethic clicks. Album opener “Tailor-Made” glides on an aquatic house groove that’s graced by a ripe tropicalia vibe. With its horn blasts and strutting conga rhythms, “Suit Yourself” is a fine ode to Bacharach pop that conjures up images of Darlington fitting himself into the signature Victorian suits he rocks when performing live.
Bespoke features a wealth of sounds and guest singers, but Darlington often lacks the glue to hold them together. “Penny Loafers” could have been a nice, stoned soul carnival if it wasn’t for the tacky sample of a choir shouting “Someone’s, someone’s, someone’s rocking” over chanteuse Inara George’s voice. “Overwhelming” pushes Bilal’s mumbled vocals into a vat of cymbal crashes, overcompressed beats, and nauseously wobbly bass. “One and Lonely” finds Darlington tossing a sampled tom-tom roll into a washing machine and letting the carnage clash against Amir “Young Dad” Yaghmai’s dreadful Morrissey impression. On second thought, maybe that last act of sonic sabotage isn’t so bad after all.