Darkside - Spiral
Critic Score
Based on 22 reviews
2021 Ratings: #99 / 429
User Score
Based on 300 ratings
2021 Ratings: #71
Liked by 21 people
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CRITIC REVIEWS

90
Exclaim!

Spiral is a soothing balm to nourish and recalibrate all the trauma since the last party ended. More simply, it's a campfire jam session for the apocalypse.

90
Northern Transmissions

Harrington and Jaar’s shared longing to propel DARKSIDE forward via more absorbable vocal lines and tantalizing bass grooves is what makes Spiral so admirable. The two could have easily made Psychic 2.0 for a new decade. Instead, they embodied a freeing abandon that birthed an organic, refreshing slow burner of an album, heavy on progressive groove and light on nostalgia.

90
No Ripcord

That’s exactly what Spiral is: an alchemical concoction of beats, textures, sonic flourishes, and melodies that sound like they were recorded in a world that had no precedent.

90
Sputnikmusic

After an eight year sabbatical, Darkside have crafted another towering, electronically-infused psychedelic masterpiece. It's a wet dream for mood music aficionados, providing a lavish backdrop for moments of deep thought, somber reflection, or even romantic inclination.

86
Beats Per Minute

Breaking it down into its composite parts is missing the point – Spiral is an album to experience as a whole, to be swallowed in and transported by.

82
Paste

On Spiral, DARKSIDE push their limits while honing the distinctive sound that made the project so singular to begin with.

80
The Arts Desk

A mellow and laidback album which gives off similar vibes as Air and John Martyn might, if they’d ever gone into the studio together.

80
Loud and Quiet

Despite the loose, in-the-moment approach, Spiral flows incredibly well. Darkside perform the high-wire act of making everything feel spontaneous and meticulously planned at the same time.

80
Record Collector

Spiral is similarly free-standing, forging together Jaar’s trademark austere minimalism and penchant for avant garde abstractions with 70s prog, folk and blues guitar. Yet Spiral is significantly more digestible than its predecessor.

80
Mojo

Whatever shape Spiral takes, the result is sublime.

80
The Skinny
Nicolás Jaar and Dave Harrington present a masterclass in the art of precision and withholding with their second Darkside album.
80
AllMusic

The creatively uninhibited nature of the project meant growth was inevitable between Darkside's debut and their second album, but Spiral's patient approach and controlled subtleties make the album remarkably easy to digest for how much is going on at any given point.

80
NME
‘Spiral’ is a gorgeous, often filmic listen that rewards with each spin. Most importantly, Jaar’s enhanced vocal role gives a new voice to troubling themes previously suggested in the stirring moods of Darkside’s music. Eight years was worth the wait.
80
Crack Magazine

There’s a hallucinatory, almost shamanic energy to Spiral, whether on the choral harmonies of opener Narrow Road, the twang of the sitar on I’m The Echo or the chime of the bell in third single Lawmaker.

80
Spectrum Culture
Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington’s leftfield electronic duo returns with a tremendous LP of varied, complex, yet ultimately soothing psychedelia.
70
Uncut

Though not everything here works, Spiral remains consistently intriguing throughout.

70
The Line of Best Fit

Despite striving for variety and subtleties within their arsenal of writing, something here still doesn’t quite click. The vexing issue being that as a whole, Spiral feels tiresome, fractured – even unfocused at times.

68
Pitchfork

Nicolás Jaar and Dave Harrington return with a meticulous work of unexpected and even unprecedented familiarity—less a portal than a kiosk existing entirely within the boundaries set by their 2013 debut.

60
PopMatters

The elements of Spiral are provocative, exhilarating, and tasteful. However, they don’t consistently cohere to form cogent gestalts or, again, diverge to the point of achieving a process akin to free improvisation.

60
Slant Magazine

While Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington assemble an array of mesmerizing sounds on Darkside’s Spiral, a larger vision eludes them.

SnowyFighter
74
Pink Floyd had a makeover and got a new singer... and it's good

Really though, this is a pretty solid record. I don't think it's as absolutely mind blowing as it sets out to be, but I still enjoy it a lot. The production is superb, with the guitar adding a ton of punch when it comes in. The vocals are pretty nice, and the writing is definitely interesting. Only Young is a great closer with the flow of the track moving very well. Liberty Bell is also another standout, along with Lawmaker and ... read more
prets
75
Psychic was a massive hurdle to clear and while it helped establish Darkside’s spot as indie up-and-comers, it became a clear indicator, too, that they were operating with a particular sort of magic – not only defining an array of genres, but successfully dismantling them with the hope of creating a larger, more vivid spectacle, a feat they achieved entirely.
avernannes
84
ALBUM OF THE MONTH: July 2021

★★★★★★★★☆☆
8.4/10

DARKSIDE don’t look back, with ‘Spiral’ they leave the unforgettable and original, but sometimes really anti-climactic direction of ‘Psychic’ behind, marking a completely new era in the band’s history.

The question that bothers probably everyone encountering this record: is ‘Spiral’ better than DARKSIDE’s debut? And right off the bat I’m gonna say - no, it is not. ... read more
CameronFriezer
85
Tracklist:

Favourite: The Limit
Worst: Spiral

1. Narrow Road - 8
2. The Limit - 10
3. The Question Is To See It All - 8
4. Lawmaker - 9.5
5. I'm the Echo - 9
6. Spiral - 6
7. Liberty Bell - 10
8. Inside Is Out There - 8
9. Only Young - 8

Average: 8.5
Quick Comment: Quite a unique sound produced, a complex one that felt like it produced so many emotions through the instrumental but also the vocals had a big part. Definitely recommend listening to it!
Schmedess
87
In my years of listening to him, Nicolas Jaar has become one of my favorite electronic artists, from the spacious, touching albums from his solo material, to the bangin house of Against All Logic. DARKSIDE however has always been very unique. With the help of Dave Harrington, the duo delivers a more rock-centric version of Nicolas' sound. While they did a great job on their debut "Psychic", I believe that "Spiral" is an improvement on all fronts.

I would say this album's ... read more
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Track List

1Narrow Road
6:15
83
2The Limit
5:21
91
3The Question Is To See It All
5:08
78
4Lawmaker
5:49
88
5I'm the Echo
5:08
84
6Spiral
4:58
73
7Liberty Bell
4:02
86
8Inside Is Out There
8:36
78
9Only Young
6:30
84
Total Length: 51 minutes
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Added on: December 21, 2020