A skipping beat, rustic guitar strings and a glowing vocal harmony filtered through a fuzzy reservoir of noise come together to forge “A Blessing I Can’t Earn,” one of the more upbeat moments in Oh My Darlin’, the new record from Streaking in Tongues, but as simple and unfanciful as this particularly evocative ballad is, its contents are far from the only reason why I would recommend picking up this latest LP from the acclaimed duo this October. Oh My Darlin’ is often as raw and discordant as a folk album can get without devolving into straight ambient chaos, but its surreally melodic segments – “A Blessing I Can’t Earn,” “We’re Still Gonna Be Alright” and the placid “Screw Up” among them – are perhaps the most endearing of any you’re going to encounter in indie acoustic music this season.
“Sunlight of a Thousand Babes,” “Irrational Blues,” “My Single Wife” and “Fear of Limbo” convey a lot more to us through sheer textures than they do provocative poeticisms, and though their counterparts in “Nothing Quite Like It in the World,” “Damn Machine,” “Rock n Roll Will Never Love You Like I Do” and “Our Love (Couldn’t Outrun a Train)” are just as masterfully produced and structured, there’s something really special about the multidimensional technique we hear in the former set that isn’t quite as prevalent in the latter. Oh My Darlin’ is an LP defined by its dualities, and in a startlingly single-threaded chapter of pop music history, it’s all the more a diamond in the rough because of the diverse array of compositional styles it weaves together so perfectly.
I absolutely love the fluidity of this tracklist. Whether it be in “Inside out and on My Ass,” the anthological “I’m Gonna Love the Hell out of You” or the sizzler of an opening salvo “Sure as Heaven,” we shift from one song to the next with total ease. Despite the complexities that we find across the record, there’s never an instance in which we feel like we’re listening to something that should have been broken up into multiple discs. It’s cohesive, engaging to no end, and constantly forcing us to study its most intricate of details through the exotic amplification of melodies that comprise the greater sonic backdrop.
This wasn’t my first time listening to Streaking in Tongues, and I can most definitely guarantee that it will not be my last. The father-son pairing absolutely kills it in all fifteen of the tracks that are included in this album, and although they came into the recording process with a lot riding on their shoulders (especially considering the overwhelmingly positive reception their last LP, the astute Kindergarten Prayers, enjoyed), they don’t back down from their ambitions in the least here. Critics will likely pull apart all of the minute details that the average listener would typically dismiss, but I’ve got a feeling that their consensus will be the same – Oh My Darlin’ is a thoroughly spellbinding collection of performances from an act that is at last exploiting their best attributes for everything they’re worth.