"A shot of expressive and dynamic power pop with songs that have melodic depth as well as memorability."

TAXI Independent Music A & R

"Chris McKay & The Critical Darlings have taken the Athens pop scene by storm over the past year. Armed with tight harmonies and airtight songwriting, the band has received airplay in Atlanta and gathered a growing legion of local fans."

(Nuci's Space - Athens, GA)

"McKay and his Darlings are tight, polished, pretty damn smooth and not afraid to blend edgier influences into their time-warped extravaganza of big vocals and gorgeously indulgent guitar solos."

Ben Gerrard (Flagpole Magazine - Athens, GA)

“A great little buzz-worthy band from Athens.”

Lee Smith (Creative Loafing – Atlanta, GA)

Critical Darlings Bio

Not long ago, people whose eyes reflected a spark of recognition at the name ‘Chris McKay' likely were familiar with the photographer who's been published in Rolling Stone, People, Entertainment Weekly, Time and Spin. More and more, however, McKay is becoming known for his first love – his own music, especially with the release of the Critical Darlings’ debut CD, C’mon, Accept Your Joy.

Atlanta’s Stomp & Stammer magazine declares, “(McKay’s) band, The Critical Darlings, offers him the chance to trade places with his camera subjects. The new CD, C'mon, Accept Your Joy!, gives a solid overview of the trio's talent for big, clever, Beatles-informed power pop.”

TAXI, Los Angeles’ leading independent A & R Service adds that the Critical Darlings new record is "A shot of expressive and dynamic power pop with songs that have melodic depth as well as memorability.”

Hailing from South Carolina and choosing Athens as his home, McKay quietly earned a couple of handfuls of ASCAP Music Awards for his solo songwriting but he had wanted to be back in a performing group since his days with Q-Sign, which was named “one of the best unsigned bands in America” by Musician Magazine.

That wish came true over a game of rock trivia in early 2004. When McKay found out that a trivia teammate was a drummer, the two decided to get together “just to see what would happen.” In an interview with the University Of Georgia’s Red & Black, McKay explained further: “We formed the band as a fun outlet between friends. No one went searching for musicians. Instead I just called up a high school friend from South Carolina to play bass. Frank DeFreese agreed to join and the trio was complete.”

Before long, the Darlings were opening for national acts as disparate as A Flock Of Seagulls and Cowboy Mouth. After experiencing the group first hand, Flagpole Magazine’s Ben Gerrard wrote, "Chris McKay & The Critical Darlings are tight, polished, pretty damn smooth and not afraid to blend edgier influences into their time-warped extravaganza of big vocals and gorgeously indulgent guitar solos."

Eventually, the Darlings decided to go into the studio to record C’mon, Accept Your Joy! Before the CD’s release, leaked tracks had already garnered airplay in 3 states. Chattanooga’s WAWL, a College Music Journal reporting station, even found the McKay / DeFreese composition, “Towel Cape Song” climbing all the way to #7 on the charts behind such acts as Coldplay and The White Stripes. The Tennessee alt-mag Enigma caught the Critical Darlings’ headlining appearance at WAWL’s 25th anniversary show and called them “a throwback to the way rock should be played – with enthusiasm and showmanship, as well as crisp and inventive writing, slick sounds and hummable choruses." Lee Valentine Smith of Creative Loafing has since named the Critical Darlings “a great little buzz-worthy band” and dubbed McKay “power pop potentate.” The Washington Post even chose Chris to represent the world famous Athens, Georgia music scene for a front page photo feature in their Travel section and a local youth minister used C’mon, Accept Your Joy as the topic for a sermon! Still, the most surprising Critical Darlings’ appearance was in the punch line of a joke on Comedy Central’s Daily Show With Jon Stewart where a picture of the Darlings was used with Stewart's face pasted over McKay's.

By early 2007, the Critical Darlings had expanded to a quartet with the addition of second guitarist / vocalist Joe Orr and drummer Josh Couillard. The new lineup is currently in pre-production for their sophomore release as well as preparing for a national campaign to promote their debut, which is scheduled to be re-issued by the indie label Side B Music in the late Spring of 2007.

www.criticaldarlings.com
myspace.com/criticaldarlings.com

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