And stretch out he does: Sunday Gift is one long expanse, an uninterrupted storm cloud of obscured percussion, vocals wafting like heat lines and scorched earth guitar blanketing the horizon. The album is structured as a set of somewhat concrete tracks buffered by interludes, each "song" emerging from the sandstorm dust beaten and weathered. If you heard Blue Daisy's last single "Raindrops," you know what to expect: vocals that flicker and fade and melodic elements that flutter across the soundscape like bits of ribbon. These songs rarely feel complete, instead receding back into the chaos of drones and static after several minutes. It's hard to tell sometimes whether this music is meant to be alluring or menacing.
The burned-out paranoia of the album renders it more of a psych-rock record than anything else. When the searing guitar meshes with crashing breaks ("Shadow Assassins") the result is like a cross of Nine Inch Nails and The Stooges. The death march of "Psyche Inquiry," with its ferocious rap from Hey!Zeus, riffs off vintage Bomb Squad productions, while vocal spots from familiar collaborator Anneka (gorgeous opener "Firewall") and Cinematic Orchestra's Heidi Vogel recall the impenetrable weed haze of prime '90s UK trip-hop.
The album's decidedly non-linear development is finally halted by penultimate track "Spinning Channels," which stumbles into a pummeling house beat that feels like the sun violently cutting through the wall of burning sand. With his remix of "Raindrops," John Talabot showed how much structured beats could add to Darko's music, and this is his own go at it: That it's the best moment on the entire record says something about maybe where he could go next. But he's not a dance producer, and Sunday Gift isn't a dance album: it's more of a shamanic journey through extreme climates with occasional stops at a revitalizing oasis or two. As with any harsh and unforgiving journey, your mileage may vary.