On their second album Screws Get Loose, Those Darlins toss aside the raucous mix of folk, country, and cowpunk of their first album in favor of a garage-punk attack that sounds way more Detroit or Brooklyn than Tennessee. Screws Get Loose is a near perfect mashup of ramshackle rockabilly, snarling garage rock, tough girl group sounds, and country swagger that gets better with each play. The three girls and one fella in the band made the right choice when they adopted their new sound; it totally kicks the ass of the old one. The way they charge through the rockers, play the ballads with a deep smolder, and strut across the midtempo tracks is pure rock & roll. Everything from the raw and reverb-y production to the fold-out poster is done just right; the band is in total control of their sound and image. It’s the sound of ripped stockings, smeared mascara, and bruises (and that’s just the dude drummer Linwood!), of busted hearts and messed-up lives, of late nights under tables and blurry mornings in messy hotel rooms. Totally clichéd in the wrong hands, Those Darlins strike the right balance between debauchery and tenderness. More importantly, they wrote some fun and furious songs that will stick in your head like barbed wire. “Be Your Bro” is a hilarious rocker that puts a would-be suitor firmly in his place, the title track is a swooning midtempo ballad with a heart-stopping chorus, “Tina Said” has a marvelously thick groove, and the pulsing “Hives” captures the breathless feeling of a crush. The couple of acoustic ballads that round out the album have none of the old-timey tinge; they sound as raw and nervy as the fully electric tracks. Though Jessi Darlin and her snarling, woozily delivered vocals are the best thing about the band, everyone here gets a turn behind the mike, and they trade off instruments throughout. No matter who is playing or singing on Screws Get Loose, Those Darlins come off like the toughest, most dangerous group around. They deliver thrilling song after thrilling song that’ll have you hyping them to all your rock & roll friends as soon as the album stops spinning.
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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra