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If Darlingside’s first album, Birds Say (2015), focused on the past through nostalgia, and their second, Extralife (2018), contemplated uncertain futures, Fish Pond Fish stands firmly in the present, looking at what’s here, now. Dave Senft (bass), Don Mitchell (guitar, banjo), Auyon Mukharji (violin, mandolin), and Harris Paseltiner (cello, guitar) have created a natural history in song—taking us into gardens, almond groves, orchard rows, down to the ocean floor, and under stars.
The band has long been praised for their harmonies and intelligent songwriting, described by NPR as “exquisitely-arranged, literary-minded, baroque folk-pop,” and their dynamic presence (crowded tightly together onstage) have made them a live performance favorite. But this album showcases their broader storytelling abilities: nature is a looking glass, the songs suggest, with tracks like “Ocean Bed,” “Green + Evergreen,” “Mountain + Sea,” and “Crystal Caving” making metaphors of their titles.
The band started studio recording Fish Pond Fish in late 2019 when they moved into Tarquin Studios, the residential studio of GRAMMY Award-winning producer Peter Katis (Interpol, The National). Living and working together brought them to their very early years under one roof in Hadley, Massachusetts. The resulting collection is simultaneously the most bedroom-tracked and production-heavy full-length album that the band has yet released.
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