Syntax Issue 10
Denver Syntax

{mark darling}
photos courtesy of Brian Carney

Mark Darling is tracing everything back to a point of singularity: Truth.

You probably think you’ve heard this story before – but let me assure you: Darling is not a crusader. He’s not going to tell you what to think. For him, the virtue of truth is simply just about the way – the only way – he knows how to approach his music.

For Denver’s Darling, inspiration is sought in the world around. While he has a multitude of musical influences – some that have clearly impacted his work – Mark Darling has located his musical and human wisdom in writers, in colors and in the world at large.

If there was one secret chord that David played, that pleased the Lord – Darling has his own. It’s the one chord that resonates longer and louder than any other – truth. And the soul, in this capacity, has a function – it is the detector of this finicky virtue. What Darling means by this is not evangelical. To the contrary, Darling’s focus seems to clearly be on himself.

A true songwriter, with everything beginning in that ferociously inward kind of way – Darling begins his walk into the unknown through his observation of details. And this typically entails a solemn outward kind of step – a peering glass into the people, places, events and ideas around him.

For Darling, this songwriting process – like the world around him – is not precise. Life is grayscale. However, things can be drawn back into a singularity, an odd sort of precision. Darling, lyrically and conceptually, is drawn to archetypes. Through his identification with the figures and elements around him, one resounding conclusion he has drawn is this facet of universality.

And one universal that Darling’s paradigm has grown from is aesthetics. This kind of translation, into his compositions, is seen in array of colors and shapes and images.

If his lyrics are literary – then he is more like Hemingway than Joyce. His phrasing and syntax is simple. It’s not fancy and convoluted with an overabundance of imagery and ethereal words. Because in the end, while Darling is interested in connecting his songs with those that feel them in the sternum – the music’s purpose is in it’s healing, of Darling himself.

On stage, this is evident. The typically reserved Darling morphs into something more aggressive once behind the microphone. His attack is deliberate – as though what needs to be exorcized from him is in the back of his throat. And with his impressive vocal range and complex stylings it is a wonder that to this day he still needs this music more than he wants it. More than just a nice accompaniment to his life, music is necessary. It is the great purpose, the creation, the big bang and the ultimate inspiration all rolled into one.

With his brother David, the Darling’s are slated for an album release before the beginning of summer. And while the public’s awareness of this kind of tremendous talent is finally raising – if Darling’s album doesn’t push him into a spotlight, then I am uncertain what can in Denver.

Visit the Darlings for upcoming shows and album release: