‘Air-Conditioned Gypsy’ is the latest release from Darling BOY following his ‘In Flames!’ EP in 2015 and delivers a positive and optimistic outlook to life and the future.
Any listener will hear the immediate influence of Oasis and The Smiths. The introduction gives us a rapid strumming pattern which resembles and sped up ‘Wonderwall’ or ‘Songbird’ and Darling BOY’s enjoyable breathy vocal melismas are reminiscent of ‘There Is a Light That Never Goes Out’ or ‘William, It Was Really Nothing’. Although this Manchester soundscape will of course appeal to fans of this music, it can run the risk of feeling dated or derivative, instead of a modern interpretation of an older influence – I’ll let you decide which.
As a listening experience, the song feels slightly over-compressed and over-produced. The track has very little room to ‘breathe’ in its arrangement and lacks in dynamic range, which after four minutes and forty seconds of listening leaves you feeling slightly exhausted from its relentlessness.
This ‘kitchen sink’ approach seems to have also leaked into the structure of the track too. Extra hooks/instrumental sections are added around three and a half minutes in and you can’t help but feel that, for a single at least, this doesn’t add too much to the track other than an extra minute or so in length.
Interestingly, this release isn’t the first incarnation of ‘Air-Conditioned Gypsy’. In fact, a previous version appears on Darling Boy’s 2013 EP of the same name. Although sounding slightly rougher and less polished than its 2020 successor, this version does have a more enjoyable use of dynamics and offers more character in its simpler delivery. It also has a more prominent country influence which gives the song a less derivative angle. Personally, this version would get a second listen sooner than its current equivalent.
Review by Harry Leo