A torn and tagged album of scuffed pop rises out of the Midwest this week from Chicago songwriter Aaron Osbourne under his DAR moniker. The band’s second album embraces the mantle of ‘90s rock with an eager hand, digging into the fuzz, froth, and tension like a lost gem in the college radio CD submission pile. Osbourne roots through GBV and Sebadoh’s toolbox, all the while eyeing Afghan Whigs and long forgotten pop purveyors like Self. With some enlisted help from Jenny Rose & Ryan Davis (Equipment Pointed Ankh, Roadhouse Band), he turns out 200 lb riffs, thundering drums, and the slick squeeze of keys into a record that feels familiar, but like an alternate future favorite that settles in to take root.

The record perfectly encapsulates the era’s dour, but not downer aesthetics. Osbourne sounds like he’s been hit by the hunger of a decade of disappointment, but each crunch of amp-toasted glory pushes DAR closer to catharsis. The loss at the center of the LP fuels it, turns inner turmoil into tracks on the tarmac. Osbourne turfs the lawn of ennui, skidding feedback and fury at the windows, looking to knock loose the pillars of nostalgia. The songs on A Slightly Larger Head leave burn marks on the back of the brain. It’s a record that pays into a longing for something that brought solace in the past, but there’s no going back, so Osbourne builds anew, crafting an alt-rock crusher that sits easily among his influences.

Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

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