Whether he’s doing crazy cat things with his wife, Laura Darlington as The Long Lost or unfurling his mighty muttonchops out from under some terrific Victoria notch-collar jacket, Daedelus is always interesting. Challenging, yes, eccentric certainly, but never dull. And that’s how it should be. As soon as a musician finds his hands wandering to the preset button his precious Bontempi keyboard, you know his creativity is as good as dead, which is a philosophy he extends to ‘Bespoke’ – an album as hard to pin as a donkey in a blindfold and twice as stubborn. This is music as Daedelus hears it, sounds fashioned to his owns miscellaneous tastes rather than sounds shared. There’s breaks, there’s beats and no shortage of andrenalised electric shocks, but there’s also a soft and mellow counter-balance, ‘Tailor-Made’ featuring the dreamy dope grooves of classically trained cellist, Milosh and the woozy, dilatory exotica of ‘Penny Loafers’ lifted by the heavenly sighs of Inara George of ‘Bird and A Bee’. Whilst challenging, disruptive and ever so slightly alienating on occasion, it’s not inaccessible and that’s what makes it successful; it’s a common language, sure, but Darlington is putting words together in unexpected ways. ‘Sew, Darn, Mend’ revives some classic sixties retro only to squeeze it through an altogether more alien filter, rather like watching ‘Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased)’ or ‘To Sir With Love’ through a Quatermass or Space 1999 prism.
Unorthodox but not untidy.