Volumes have been written about the many influences Radiohead has had on modern indie rock music, from revolutionizing how bands think about distribution methods to the way Thom Yorke made it cool again for a grown man to sing in a falsetto whine. You’ll definitely hear their influence in the lushly layered, lightly proggy arrangements of The Darcys‘ self-titled new album. In another very Radiohead-y move, The Darcys has been offered up online as a free download from the band’s website.
There’s a clear through line to this album, with each of the 10 songs blending and flowing into each other; however, some of the more intriguing twists and turns in the music happen within single songs. Opening with a shoegaze-y guitar hiss, House Built Around Your Voice contrasts this with arpeggiated guitar picking and smooth, soft singing, flipping between the two with relative ease. Shaking Down the Old Bones builds with a slow burn, taking three full minutes at low volume levels before leaping to a loud sonic payoff. The climb is more gradual in The Mountains Make Way, which spreads layer upon layer of instruments behind the vocals with an admirable subtlety. The crescendo inGlasnost comes courtesy of layered vocals rather than distortion. These changing dynamics follow a formula that feels obvious after a few listens, but it’s effective nonetheless.
These Canadian rockers have been dabbling in relative obscurity for a few years, but that status quo should hopefully change with a recently announced three-album slate from Arts & Crafts. “Ambitious” may be the best one-word description of that plan, as well as this first record. The Darcys takes a lot of risks, but the album hits pay dirt on most of them. It’s an album certainly worth checking out.
And hey, you can’t beat the price.
Essential Songs: House Built Around Your Voice, Shaking Down the Old Bones, and The Mountains Make Way