I first heard of Darron J Connett when I sent off for a free ep a few years back, the cd arrived with a variety of bumpf including a photo shoot Darron did for Ikon for a fashion magazine, what struck me more than anything was his style- it was something that has been missing for a while- a proper Peacock Mod. After the Mod-lite that folllowed the Britpop era- chiefly untucked Ben Shermans and ‘plastic’ parkas, this was a breath of fresh air.
The four track ‘Onwards and Upwards’ ep’s lead track, ‘Just A Boy’ had a sound harking back to the early 80’s Mod revival bands, and also featured the brilliantly witty ‘Problem Page’, a Dear Deirdre affair of folk with strange dilemas. This latter tune may be the reason why Darron popped up in a TV advert for The Sun! What made these songs stand out for me from the rest, is Darron’s voice- he has a unique style, who some say sounds a bit like Paul Weller- I think Paul Weller is starting to sound like Darron!
Then I didn’t hear much on the Connett front, until a post on Modculture website that mentioned for the cost covering postage, Darron’s label, Mono Media- run by face and all round top bloke Mark ‘Bax’ Baxter (himself a walking advert for decent schmutter)- would send a copy of the new Connett mini album, ‘Waging War On The Obvious’ (good title). With a change in line up, came a more advanced sound- there’s even a sitar on it!
There is more of a Kinks/Small Faces feel to this album, and the song structures are more accomplished. There was a personnel change on this album too, with guitarist Glen Fuller coming in, and I.m not sure if he co-wrote any of the songs on this album, he certainly contributed to it’s follow up album ‘Love and Curses’.
A video of new track ‘Mademoiselle’ recorded at Paul Weller’s Black Barn Studio, cropped up, and the bass intro’d track had me very excited- it’s a classic.
The first time I caught Connett live was at a matinee performance at Peter Parker’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Club in Denmark Street, London. Connett were previewing new tracks which were to be on their new album and The Sons were marking the release of their new ep.
It being an early start- at 12.30!, it took a while for folk to turn up, and as it was fairly quiet, Darron came and had a chat with me and the-ever present Claire, and he struck me as an honest, genuine chap, who is obviously pround of his art, and rightly so.
It was a great performance, at a strange time- I’ve never left a gig mid-afternoon before!
The next time I saw them live was supporting The Moons at the 100 Club, and their performance was a more polished affair (it ha been about 8 months since I last saw them) and a few new tunes.
Still no new album, but another performance, this time in Wimbledon, was on the cards. The tracks now sounded like old favourites, despite the fact the album hadn’t yet been released. They finished with a new track- and a new sound. The aptly named ‘New Horizon’ sounded fairly Doors-y to me, and showed a band not afraid to develop their art.
Finally the album was released via 208 Records, and can be purchased here.
A complete sounding album, from the initial explosion of ‘Bang!Bang!’, the afore mentioned ‘Madamoiselle’, a few tunes that I’d liked live such as ‘God Given Ghost Town’, ‘Real Life Adventures In Wonderland’ and the anti-war call to arms ‘It’s War!’. There was also a softer sounding Connett in ‘Salt and Wine’ and ‘Take Me Away’. Finishing with ‘New Horizon’, possibly hinting at what was to follow.All in all a brilliantly accomplished piece of work.
With the album seeming to take a while to be released, it was no surprise to me that Darron had been writing new material. With Connett on a hiatus, Darron teamed up with Joel Rogers- whom had played on the same bill as Connett a few times- and ex-Rifles Bass player Rob Pyne, and The Last Of The Troubadors was formed. Hava a listen to their ep sampler here.
To be continued…