Cleveland, Ohio’s Darling Waste is an interesting little punk band. These guys have been around for over a decade and gone through a few lineup changes. The mainstay has been lead vocalist and songwriter Lance Waste. After reforming the band a couple years ago, they are back with their newest album, The Skeleton Key. Darling Waste has (at least to me) a unique blend of emo rock, pop punk, horror punk, and indie rock all rolled into one package. The lyrics are very emotionally and brutally honest, telling about spiraling into self-destruction, toxic relationships, near-death experiences, etc. The album is completely self-produced, and while I can definitely tell that, its a well done effort and fits the musical style of the band. Its not super-polished and glossy like a pop punk album, but not so raw as a horror punk/hardcore record. There’s lots of melody in both Lance’s vocal lines as well as Madeline Hoyle’s guitar lines.
Upon listening to the intro track, I thought I was in store for a more Wednesday 13/Murderdolls-style horror punk outing. Its a great creepy intro. And the creepy, unnerving vibe does indeed continue into the first song “Sing Along Time”, but it never gets too much. Its more of a slight gothic influence that permeates the album. The next song, “I Am The Villain,” is the album’s lead track and has a great vocal line. The only issue i hear with it is a slight off time drum hit at the beginning of the chorus. Maybe its just me, but it ever so slightly takes me out of the song. Other than that, I like the song a lot. The album goes on and reaches more of a gothic-y ballad in “Hurt Before” which features guest vocals from Stef Huschka (aka Stef w/ An F) of Minnesota outfit City Of The Weak. I feel like the song is a marriage between My Chemical Romance and Type-O Negative with a female vocal thrown in. Most of the songs tend to stay in the emo/punk vibe. You definitely get the feeling that Lance Waste is working out some painful situations while singing/writing these songs. This is happier sounding music for depressed people who need to feel better about their lives. God knows, I certainly feel better about mine.
All in all, The Skeleton Key is a pretty cool record, especially for a DIY band who have paid their dues for as long as they have. Its got a little something for everyone. Gothic moodiness, punky/bouncy riffs, emotional/angst-ridden vocals, and and some indie sensibility. If you’re into any of that, check these guys/gals out.