I’ve known Darien Clea for four years, and through all the songwriters I’ve met, she has always had the simple gift of being able to write catchy, instant hit songs. They might not be the typical pop songs you’ll hear on the radio, but they’re more grounded. They’re the kind of songs that will get stuck in your head for days because of the intricate, introspective lyrics. Multiple incarnations aside, the first full length EP from Darien features some classics from her repertoire and a few surprising new ones.
The five song EP kicks off with “Light On The Wall”, a relatively newer track from the established songwriter, and features delicate piano lines all the way through and a melody shrouded by a deep bass and drum sound. Darien paints a beautiful picture through her shy, yet powerful vocals, and lyrics like “My numb heart was replaced / with a heart that could feel things / and the light filled the whole room / from the carpet / to the ceiling / I see myself changing for the better since you came along.” The beautiful heartfelt song is followed up by an old classic, and the first Darien song I ever heard, “So I Hid Myself”. Previous versions were very soft and elemental, like they were recorded in a backyard, complete with scribbling lyrics out of a written paper. The new version is much more thought out, and structured with a solid guitar-driven beat, yet still focuses on Darien’s haunting vocals on the chorus. She’s also written a brand new bridge to the song layered over a simple drum beat. It gives the song much more depth and makes it instantly memorable.
“Home” is one of my favorite Darien Clea songs, simply because of the deeply personal lyrics and how we can all identify with the longing to go home and sink inside ourselves when things go wrong. Even if it’s the best thing for us, it “makes me wish for home / where nothing’s hard and everyone’s used to my flaws / so I’ve no need to change.” The new version has a great percussion focus, and deep piano elements that compliment Darien’s dual layer vocals. Yes, this girl does multiple overdubs and they work every single time. “Peninsula” is another new track, similar to “Light on the Wall”, but the track features an electric feel, with static beats and a soft piano in the background, making for a smooth melody from the songwriter. The short 5 song EP ends with the beautiful back woods sound of “Porch Swing”, featuring a soothing melody from Darien, almost in lullaby tone. It’s a beautiful love song to end the EP with.
Darien has grown so much in the years I’ve known her, and this EP is the ultimate example of the growth she has experienced over the years. While some of the songs aren’t new, the extra instrumentation of these new versions give new life to the great songs from her catalog. This is an EP that is surely not to be missed.