The Milk Factory bar and restaurant in South Brisbane was lit up with an eclectic pop performance by Melbourne producer and songwriter Darling James on Saturday 4 August. James is celebrating the release of his Sophomore EP Mood Eyes with an east coast tour of the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Byron Bay, Melbourne, Sydney, and Coogee Bay.

Described by celebrated Australian singer-songwriter Kate Miller-Heidke as “surprising, playful, and boundary-pushing”, Darling James’s new  six-track set complements and extends the sparkling pop focus of his highly successful 2016 debut EP Theory of Mind. 

Darling James, real name James O’Brien, began his music career as a sideman for other acts before joining the pioneering Brisbane-come-Melbourne indie band The Boat People as a co-frontman and songwriter. Their songs were played by Triple J on high rotation, and even received airtime on Los Angeles’s KCRW and the UK’s Radio 1. They took the home crowds by storm with their festival performances, including their sizzling sets at Big Day Out and Woodford Folk Festival. The start of his solo career was marked by the highly successful single Ultimatum Talk, which buzzed with the combined energies of a charming ukuele loop and heart-pounding explosions of organs and drums.

James’s performance at the Milk Factory was equal parts excitable and emotional. His falsetto vocals and contemplative lyrics were backed by the buzzing of a synth piano and electric guitar. All of his songs, including the first single Silver Bullet were underscored by a sly dance, which the room bopped along to eagerly. However, it is undoubtable that James’s roots are firmly planted in the dramatic, volatile sensibilities of pop music. A kaleidoscopic light feature stained the walls with red, purple, and green; an accurate representation of James’s talent to reflect on, and ultimately celebrate, the variable twists and turns of life.

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