The sophomore release from Brooklyn-based pop-punk artist Darro is entitled “Accidents”, and is a collection of 10 songs each with their own “accident” or rather “crisis”. A known genre trope of pop-punk is to discuss self-esteem issues, teenage angst, and heartbreak in its lyrics, and this album doesn’t stray too far from that but has a touch of much-needed innovation.
The Intro has some synthesizer samples and electronic beats with a repeating muffled vocal line that beautifully flows into the first song “Signing Out”. From the first track, you could tell that Darro is a talented guitarist from the word painting, palm-muting, and pummelling bass line, to name a few of the techniques he has up his sleeve. In the aforementioned song and the following three songs: “Wanna Say Goodbye”, “Phoning In (feat. Michael Meaney)”, and “Burned So Bright” you begin to understand how Darro’s style is a crossover between well-known 2000s Emo/Pop-Punk that goes from simple melodic riffs to upbeat chord progressions, and a more modern hip-hop and RnB inspired style. This brand of Pop-Punk is what you would get if My Chemical Romance collaborated with Post Malone or Machine Gun Kelly. Darro did not shy away from using more advanced and complex guitar techniques, which made this album feel like it was meant to start a whole new movement.
The 6th track on the album “Something I’m Not Used To (feat. Nate Flud)” is the turning point for me. It feels like the first half of the album works its way through the mix of pop-rock, punk rock, and RnB, and then this track shows a sudden peak of pure rock power and complex bass lines. I loved the tracks before, but this one is definitely my favorite and will remain on my playlist for a long time. On the coming tracks, “All Be Lost” and “Runs on Guilt”, the established momentum and percussive overtones remain. Don’t get me wrong, the melodic nature of Darro’s guitar playing is still there, especially on the former of these two which has a (sort of) guitar solo. But generally speaking, tracks 6 through 9 show a more dense rhythm section work than the first half of the album, and a prominent rhythm guitar that you can hear in world-class production and mastering quality. The tenth and final track is the solo version of “Phoning In” (without Michael Meaney), which makes us experience the second verse sung in Darro’s style. This version of the song feels more desperate and less angry with the partner that Darro “can hear on the other line” but can’t quite communicate with.
To sum it all up, Darro has a wide vocal range that he can swiftly move through and uses boyish-sounding nasal intonations. Sometimes, his technique even adds grit with raspiness/huskiness when the song needs it. The guitar techniques used on the album are varied and after the first 3 tracks, he hones his skills and how he isn’t a one-trick pony. It blew my mind when I learned that Darro defeated brain cancer and had to re-learn singing (and even speaking) from scratch. The dude is a living inspiration. The electronic elements used in the album like additional percussion (and sometimes even auto-tune) might be a turn-off for some purists. But I beg to differ, as I think they made the record sound modern and fresh and presented guitar-based music in an appealing way for youngsters without shifting far away from the style of their mainstream favorites. If you want to know the general flavor here, think of Avril Lavigne, My Chemical Romance, and Fall Out Boy with an added sizzle of modern RnB elements and a ton of freshness.