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May 23, 2024

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Diana Darby
Fantasia Ball (Delmore Recording Society)

By: Scott D. Lewis

On the cover of Diana Darby's debut, 2000's wispy and wonderful Naked Time, there appears a photo of a pomegranate. Well, not simply a pomegranate, but a pomegranate with a wedge cut out of it and some juice and seeds spilled out. It's an eerie image, at once sexy and scary, just like Darby's music. Anyone who thinks that Cat Power or Mia Doi Todd splay themselves out naked on their records had better have a listen to Fantasia Ball to hear how it's really done. Certainly not to played at any gala or festive gathering anytime soon, listening to these eleven tracks is like peering though Darby's blinds into her cramped, candle-lit living room as she sits on her sofa drinking dark red wine and working through some guitar-and-voice therapy...only without the messy criminal charges. Darby blankets her forced-whisper of a voice around delicate acoustic guitar and cello passages to an end that is much more than the some of its parts. Some tambourine gets thrown in for the lusty "If It Feels Good," "Mother" contains few other words than the title and sounds as though recorded in a cave behind a waterfall and on "My Own," Darby looks at the same subject in a much more brutal light. There a whole sweet and spooky world to be found in Fantasia Ball, but it's a special place only for the patient.
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