Darius - Dive In

It could be a blessing in disguise that Darius releases his debut album in the week that Popstars: The Rivals unveil what have got to be the most atrocious pop creations known to man. Both Girls Aloud, and to a lesser extent, One True Voice are an idea of pop hell, which makes you want to shake Mylene Klass' and Kym Marsh's heads together, beg for their forgiveness and exclaim that Hear'say weren't really that bad after all. Of course the original Popstars TV was where Darius started his journey looking like a one man religious cult (and seemingly making the Polyphonic Spree look like the sanest people on planet pop), before shaving off the goatee, losing the pony tail and turning himself into a bona fide sex god Pop Idol with a personality to boot.

What separates Darius from the rest of the Pop Idol pack is that he writes his own material and this is what his whole career hangs precariously on. "Colourblind" was a surprise smash Number 1, although I always felt it was a little anaemic and flimsy to ever be a classic anthem, yet the follow up "Rushes" was a triumph in production techniques over a well crafted song. The rest of the album suffers many of the same faults as A1's recent "Learn To Fly" album in that despite the fact they both write their own songs, their influences are not interesting and diverse enough to create a truly great pop rock crossover album. You can even  imagine Darius sitting at home surrounded by Bryan Adams albums scowling and sneering at Gareth Gates and Will Young on TV saying if it wasn't for those pesky kids.

The one moment where it really does come together is on the albums title track. The sort of upbeat jaunty breezy melodies which Pete Yorn and Teenage Fanclub revel in mixed with a pop sensibility and condensed into just over 3 minutes like all great pop songs should be. Sadly the rest of the album attempts to show the real Darius behind the cheesy one liners and as expected it's substandard Imbruglia style clichés throughout such as "Another Friday night and the week is over. Got a bottle of wine And a meal for one" on "Sliding Doors" which isn't made any better by the lame 80s production.

The albums penultimate track "Mocking Bird" is an obvious sideswipe at Simon Cowell, but the question is who would you rather be - Gareth Gates or Darius? While Darius may get the opportunity to write his own songs, they're no more original or inventive than any of the Gates' tunes and they're a damn site more forgettable. I can certainly appreciate what Darius is trying to do with his song writing, but to me when you compare the songs to the classic rock pop anthem of "The One & Only" by Chesney Hawkes every song of Mr Danesh's pales in comparison.

Alex McCann

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