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Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE
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"ROCK: The Darcys (4 Stars)"

ROCK: The Darcys

The Darcys
Arts & Crafts
4 stars

Between the assiduous detail of the instrumental arrangements and the nuanced emotive power of the melodies, the Darcys bring a level of vision and maturity to their sophomore effort that is breathtaking. That the Toronto quartet managed to deliver it despite the 11th-hour departure of singer Kirby Best (keyboardist Jason Couse assumed those duties and re-cut the vocal tracks) and more than 18 months of delay is impressive. And the almost symphonic grandeur the Toronto quartet and producer Murray Lightburn bring to the songs, from the dense skirl of guitars driving Edmonton to Purgatory to the solemn, multitracked chorale adorning When I am New Again, is downright stunning. J.D. Considine

The Darcys can be downloaded for free at - The Globe & Mail

"Review: The Darcys - The Darcys (-A)"

By Chandler Levack October 24, 2011

People sell records with stories. Whether it’s an addiction, an artistic breakthrough or a change of scene, any album automatically becomes more fascinating if there’s a context present in which to easily break it down. If you strip away any rock band, you’ll usually find three to five dudes who’ve staked a career sleeping on stranger’s floors, which is much less interesting than old friends overcoming the odds.
Which is exactly what we find on the new album of Toronto four-piece The Darcys (guitarist/vocalist Jason Couse, drummer Wes Marskell, guitarist/organist Mike le Riche, and bassist Dave Hurlow). The band formed in Halifax while studying at Kings College, but with a different lead singer. The Darcys were poised for a breakout, but somewhere down the line, their lead singer became the problem. Just after the troublemaking frontman quit the band, the band’s refusal to play a show for Toronto MP Giorgio Mammoliti (who opposes same-sex marriage) thrust the group into the limelight. Even though their debut record, Endless Water, didn’t sound like the band anymore, somehow The Darcys carried on. Guitarist Jason Couse graduated to frontman, and The Darcys were signed to a three-album deal with Arts & Crafts.
Knowing this story makes the hazy guitars and spacey emotionality of The Darcys seem a lot more interesting. Each of these 10 tracks operates in the zen space your brain inhabits once you finally move on from the person who once tortured you (“right heart, wrong time,” repeats the coda of “Shaking Down The Old Bones”), set to icy minor-tuned guitars, ghostly harmonization, and a Fender Rhodes. Clear-cut comparisons include Radiohead circa Kid A and English songbirds Wild Beasts. Couse’s voice can shift from a Nina Simone warble to a Kings Of Leon sex vamp at any time. A fever breaks every time The Darcys get too far into their glowering (as in the propulsive, static-cling guitar that builds through “Edmonton To Purgatory”). And because of the juxtaposition between crystalline indie rock and fully fused rock-outs (aided dramatically by drummer Wes Marskell), the album grows with every listen.
This band doesn’t sound like any of the glock-collectives coming out of Arts & Crafts, but that’s a good thing. The odd details throughout The Darcys—a gospel choral breakdown, a barely detectable violin solo that fades into static, lyrics that wink at self-awareness—surface like cream. - A.V. Club / The Onion

"The Darcys are going to be fine, with a little help from Arts & Crafts"

By Mike Doherty

As Wes Marskell’s band, The Darcys, struggled to finish their self-titled second album, he took up a bartending job at Toronto’s Medieval Times dinner theatre. The drummer would serve tourists drinks called Maiden’s Kiss and Dragon Slayer and tell girls he was really The Green Knight (they never believed him), all the while repeating to himself the mantra: “I’m in a rock band. It’s going to be fine.”

The Darcys are a talented quartet, but up until now, they’ve hardly been an advertisement for giving up one’s day job. In March 2010, after a trying year (during which they had equipment stolen, were held up at knifepoint, and nearly perished when their tour van spun out on black ice), they were preparing a showcase for the album they’d just finished recording, when their lead singer abruptly quit. Cue much re-recording (with guitarist Jason Couse stepping in on vocals), messy legal proceedings and three full mixes of the album; finally, last month, they released it — for free.

“It’s not about making a million dollars on the record,” Marskell says. “It’s about people having it.” Which isn’t to say he’ll be back in a tunic and tights soon: the white knight that rode in to save the band was Arts & Crafts (Feist, Broken Social Scene), the highly regarded Toronto label whose strategies sometimes seem perplexing but can often prove inspired. Over lunch at a Queen Street eatery, Marskell and Couse reflect on their pursuit of musical perfection, the obstacles they’ve faced and their sense of hope after being a band in distress.

The long-time friends from Etobicoke, Ont., started jamming as a two-piece in high school, influenced by densely textured shoegazer music and yacht-rockers Steely Dan alike; when they moved to Halifax for university, they met like-minded bassist Dave Hurlow and vocalist Kirby Best. Together, they bashed out their debut, Endless Water (2007), which Marskell describes as the sound of a “post-rock band … that wanted to get drunk and meet girls.”

But there were signs their studies were having an effect, beginning with their band name, taken from English-lit set text Pride and Prejudice. Couse likens their writing and rehearsing sessions to “all-night essay writing blitzes,” and says a fourth-year course called The Deconstruction of the Tradition of the 20th Century encouraged The Darcys to rethink their strategy. “We responded to the feelings we had about that [first] album by turning to a super-critical work ethic.”

Upon graduation, the band members returned to Toronto, added guitarist Michael le Riche, an electronics wiz who makes his own effects pedals, and grew more ambitious. When it came time to record The Darcys’ second album, producer Murray Lightburn, whom they’d admired for his “giant, sprawling” work with his band The Dears, told them to simplify their approach. Couse and Marskell, who had adopted an obsessive, Steely Dan-like attention to detail, found it hard to relinquish control. Eventually, Marskell says, Lightburn told them the album “can’t be in my life anymore, but I can’t let it die.” They let go and wrapped up recording, at which point Best left the band.

The split was initially amicable — “Everyone was trying to make it work, but I think he just wasn’t into it,” Marskell says — but it devolved into a legal nightmare that they’re not now at liberty to discuss.

When “all of this bad stuff came to a head,” Marskell says, “the record was in a shambles. It was like, ‘Why are we doing this? Just walk away, give up.’ We lost sleep; we lost weight; we stopped eating; I took up smoking — it was horrible.”

Enter Arts & Crafts, who, perhaps uniquely as a label, were poised to help get the monkey off the quartet’s backs — by releasing the album online, gratis.

“It’s something we need to share with people so we can move on creatively and as people,” Couse says. Back in 2007, Arts & Crafts had pre-empted the physical release of Stars’ album In Our Bedroom After the War with a digital release (and thus angered industry folk who felt they were devaluing physical product), but not even they had released an album for free.

“It’s harder and harder to get anyone to pay attention to new artists,” says the label’s co-founder and president, Jeffrey Remedios. He believes Arts & Crafts have much to gain “by people hearing this band and trying to cut through some of the clutter” rather than “selling this album to a much smaller base.”

So far, The Darcys — an ear-catching collection of sweeping, multilayered songs, both gauzy and abrasive — has been downloaded some 3,000 times. They’ve received emails from fans in the U.S. and Europe thanking them and saying they’ve subsequently ordered copies on vinyl — the only format in which the album is actually being sold. Arts & Crafts plan to make money from LPs (the first pressing of 500 having sold out), from merchandising and from touring: with fingers crossed about their gear, The Darcys are returning to the road. What’s more, making up for lost time, they’ve already recorded a second album due in January, with a third slated for later next year.

Marskell has left the medieval era wall behind, although his bandmates are still working. “There’s a lot of moments when one of us will phone each other about a song, and you’ll hear the other person’s boss yelling in the background ’cause the table’s been waiting.”

If Arts & Crafts’ gamble pays off, the members of The Darcys won’t have to worry. They’re in a rock band; they’re going to be fine. - The National Post

"The Darcys: A new and momentous beginning"

The Darcys
At The Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto, on Friday

There is the calm, there is the storm, and then there are the Darcys, young art-rock wonders who do both simultaneously. Their results are meaningful, momentous and absolutely enviable.

In the beery dark showroom at the Horseshoe Tavern, in front of a bustling co-ed crowd, the Toronto quartet set impassioned melodic emotion against funnelling washes of electric feedback and gauzy textures. Crescendos figured; the drummer and bassist clearly had eaten their Wheaties or spinach.

As the band members set up their equipment, they did so to the relatively breezy sounds of Steely Dan, a progressive group of music-obsessives who the Darcys admire (perhaps for their persnicketiness), but do not emulate. Rather, it is Radiohead, one has to think, who the Darcys send fan letters to. Something like Don’t Bleed Me, which begins with a tumbling beat, white noise and a simple sinister keyboard riff, features high singing synonymous to the arcing vocals of Thom Yorke.

In another similarity to Yorke’s band, the Darcys’ latest album (self-titled) is free for the download – the only copies at the merchandise table were vinyl, not compact disc.

There’s a colourful story – colourful to me; tormented to the band – to the making of the album. The plot involves stolen equipment, a knifepoint stick-up, a van accident on an icy road, and the abrupt exit of their former lead singer. Vocals tracks were re-recorded, lawsuits were filed and the album was re-mixed not once but twice.

The group’s debut album was 2007’s Endless Water, but that’s just what the Wikipedia discography will tell you. For all intents and purposes, the gorgeous new eponymous release is the Darcys’ beginning. It’s the first instalment of a three-record deal with Toronto’s Arts & Crafts label, and the songs played at the Horseshoe were drawn exclusively from that new album.

Can’t say that the Darcys miss their former vocalist, no offence to that chap. Guitarist-keyboardist Jason Couse has a lovely, lush soar to him. Whether it was the sound system, his concentration of conveying emotion at the expense of enunciating, or my own mushy eardrums, his elegantly chosen words were hard to make out. A shame.

“Everyone has got all the time but me,” Couse sang on the shimmering I Will be Light. And it’s true that the Darcys have time to make up. Apparently both of their next two albums are already recorded, with the talk being that the new material is different than the sounds just out. Those sounds are grand, moody and uplifting – who knows what happier days will bring. - The Globe & Mail

"Northern Exposure (NXNE): The Darcys"

Sometimes it seems like Toronto is so crammed with hardworking indie rock bands that it's hard for many of them to rise above the fray and get their music heard. Local live faves the Darcys have certainly faced more challenges than any group should have to go through -- just when it seemed like they were amassing both a critical and audience following in the years after dropping their well-received debut, 'Endless Water,' their lead singer unexpectedly quit, and a subsequent follow-up album seemed to be going nowhere.

Enter the Dears' Murray Lightburn, who served as somewhat of a de facto mentor for the band and also introduced them to veteran recording engineer Dave Schiffman (who's worked on records by the Dears, Weezer, Rage Against the Machine and many other major acts), who helped re-shape the album into a more dynamic work that better reflected the quartet's current lineup (now featuring guitarist/keyboardist Jason Couse on vocals).

That self-titled LP (produced by Lightburn) will finally see the light of day this fall, but in the meantime, the Darcys have continued to lay waste to local stages with their forceful live show, and digitally released two tracks that suggest the turmoil hasn't affected the band creatively.

If anything, Couse comes off as a natural frontman on the aptly-titled 'House Built Around Your Voice' -- his vocals evoke the kind of keening quality found in the best of the Brit bunch (think Radiohead's Thom Yorke or Travis' Fran Healy), and serve as a cohesive element in a track that doesn't stay in one particular musical place for too long.

The initial squall of fuzzed-out guitars is matched by drummer Wes Marskell's insistent rhythm -- the dense low end and dreamy washes of guitar help add a darker edge to the pretty melodies, which veer into almost Coldplay-like territory at times. Which isn't a dig, mind you -- like that band's best tunes, 'House Built Around Your Voice' sets an evocative mood -- it's the kind of song that can accompany you on a long, contemplative walk or pique your attention as part of a mix from that friend with great musical taste.

And just when you think it's sounding perhaps a bit too wistful, the whole thing ends with one last burst of spiky percussion -- a welcome punctuation point from a band clearly ready to make some noise of their own.
- Spinner

"Pop Montreal 2011: The Darcys at Casa del Popolo, Sept. 24"

Next up was The Darcys, whose forthcoming self-titled debut (out Oct. 25 on Arts & Crafts) was produced by The Dears’s Murray Lightburn. And while the group exhibited some of Lightburn’s propensity for adventurous melodicism, it was equally notable for its high-energy, feedback-fuelled dance-rock sound. Wes Marskell”s frenetic beats bordered on drum ‘n’ bass, while singer-guitarists Jason Couse and Mike le Riche traded and shared vocal lines, harmonizing and playing off each other in intriguing ways. That neither is quite ready to step into the role of frontman (their original singer quit last year, forcing a rejigging of roles) is their one fallback. These guys seem more interested in their collective aesthetic than rock star posturing. They’re good musicians with some ambitious arrangements – the scope of these songs often bordered on epic. With a little more punch, this could get interesting. - Montreal Gazette

"Q & A: The Darcys sign to Arts & Crafts, talk new record"

Today The Darcys will be announced as the latest signing to Canadian fortress of song, Arts & Crafts. The band, responsible for 2007's sleeper critical hit Endless Water, has been quietly assembling their self-titled follow-up ever since. Scheduled for release on October 25, the self-titled album was produced by Dears frontman Murray Lightburn and mixed by Dave Schiffman (whose credits run the gamut from Johnny Cash to Rage Against the Machine).

The road to the final release of The Darcys hasn’t been easy though. The band clashed with Lightburn so severely during the tracking of the record that it nearly derailed its completion. Early in the process, their vocalist quit, forcing them to regroup and re-record with guitarist Jason Couse stepping into the role of lead singer. They were then dropped by their publicist, unsure if they would even finish their album, which left The Darcys sitting on a collection of songs they had poured the better part of four years into. It was only a few months ago that the band found their current home with Arts & Crafts, and with the release of The Darcys just a few weeks away, they suddenly have more than a few reasons to feel a little optimistic about the future. - AUX

"The Darcys Sign to Arts & Crafts, Announce First of Three New Albums"

It's been a whole four year since the Darcys released their debut album, but the Toronto-based group are ending their silence with a bang. Now signed to their new label home of Arts & Crafts, the genre-busting rockers are getting ready to release three new albums, starting with a self-titled LP due out October 25.

The ten-song collection was produced by Murray Lightburn of the Dears. A press release describes it thusly: "Each complex, effects-laden composition strives to cascade over listeners with layered vocals, loops, keys and shimmering guitars. The Darcys is equal parts anthemic and moody, dark and soaring. Lush and heavily textured, the songs are as meticulously constructed and as they are unrelenting."

Digital copies of the album will be available for free via the band's website on release day. Fans who want a hard copy can buy one of 500 copies on 180-gram vinyl from Arts & Crafts' webstore or select independent retailers.

Until the LP drops, tide yourself over by listening to the first single "Shaking Down the Old Bones," which you can grab over at the Darcys' website, and pre-order the whole thing from the label. The Darcys also have a handful of Canadian tour dates, which you can check out below.

As for those other two new albums, expect announcements in the coming months, and get some insight into the Darcys' plans in Exclaim! TV's recent interview with the band, which you can view at the bottom of the page. - Exclaim!

"Juno Week & JunoFest featuring the Beauties, Kevin Drew, Harlan Pepper Toronto, ON March 23-26"

Also generating attention are Toronto's the Darcys, and their Garrison set showed why. The band have a propulsive sound a little reminiscent of '80s British rockers like Comsat Angels, and the keyboards of singer Jason Couse are used to add interesting atmospheres to the mix. - Exclaim!

"When I Am New Again - Wildlife, The Darcys and Freedom Or Death at Steam Whistle Brewing in Toronto"

Goodness knows that’s a title that’s been hanging around The Darcys for years now, and clearly no guarantee of anything. The circumstances around their delayed ascent to greatness were pretty well-documented back in March by The Toronto Star – but with the self-titled sophomore effort that’s really more of a debut hopefully finally ready to see the light of day after being stalled for more than a year, the band may finally be ready to move forwards. For the as yet unacquainted, my best description of The Darcys would a balance of prog and pop somewhere between the tension of mid-era Radiohead and the grand presentation of early Elbow, though I don’t think it’s any slight to add the caveat that they’re not as brilliant as either, at least not right now if ever, but it does give a sense of where they’re pointed creatively as well as their potential. And so while there’s still no definite timetable for when their recorded selves will finally be let loose, though it seems inconceivable that no label in the city will have the good sense to put it out before the year is out, The Darcys are making do venting their energies onstage.
As with the last couple times I’d seen them live, their show was an impressive exercise in musicianship and intensity though as I’ve mentioned in the past – and as also applies to their record – a couple of less-clenched songs would really help the dynamics of the experience. But considering they’ve been sitting on this record and these songs far longer than any band ever should, who knows where they’re actually at right now with respect to their songwriting. And that’s perhaps the biggest reason I hope they get the album out soon; not just so that the rest of the world can be let in on what Toronto’s known for so long, but so that the band can finally get on with it. - Chromewaves

"Toronto's Darcys Gaining After Loss"

Although theirs has since become a textbook tale of rising to the occasion and perseverance in the face of disaster, it could have gone either way for the Darcys at this time last year.

Canadian Music Week of 2010 was to mark the proud unveiling of the young Toronto outfit's second album, which they had only just completed after a somewhat difficult, but rewarding mentorship at the hands of their chosen producer, Dears frontman Murray Lightburn.

The Darcys had all their ducks in a row: a loyal and growing live following; a few good notices in the press and the “blogosphere” for their breathless gigs and their impressive 2007 debut, Endless Water; a nibble of record-label curiosity here and there; and, most importantly, a solid new piece of work to flaunt. And then, within days of finishing the album and with an important CMW showcase bearing down on them in little more than a week, their singer quit. Not a temper-tantrum, just-for-show quit, either. Quit. Gone.

“I'd just got the record and it was over. It felt terrible,” says drummer Wes Marskell.

“But I've had this kind of awakening a couple of times in the past where it feels really bad, but part of you knows that it's not. And I think that the one thing with moving forward with CMW and beyond was that it felt like there was nothing holding us back from going to the moon and that we were all fully capable of doing what we were meant to do. Before, it felt like there was always a hiccup or a hitch.”

Faced with the decision of “either turn the corner or give up,” the Darcys — suddenly a quartet composed of Marskell, guitarist/keyboardist Jason Couse, guitarist Mike le Riche and bassist Dave Hurlow — elected to fight on and honour their CMW commitments.

Couse stepped into departed vocalist Kirby Best's shoes and a week's worth of nightly practices saw the band's dense, tricky songs hastily rearranged for fewer bodies. Nerves generally frayed all around. But they pulled it off, turning in a pointedly intense comeback performance at El Mocambo during the festival that left those acquainted with the recent drama relieved to see that, perhaps, things were going to be all right. Now they're back at CMW and playing the Silver Dollar on Thursday.

“I actually hadn't felt nervous — at least not anywhere near that nervous — in a long time because we'd been touring a lot and I'd become very comfortable in my role,” recalls Couse. “Singing backup vocals was fine, but I'd never considered myself a focal point. I wasn't in charge of the ebb and flow of a show. So I was really nervous. I still have weird moments where I get a gust of that coming back to haunt me.

“Playing through it felt right, though. It felt more right than it had been in the time leading up to that. There was a sort of ‘brotherhood' moment in it.”

The year since hasn't exactly been smooth for the Darcys. Best's disentanglement started amicably and ended ugly; lawyers had to be involved. Vocals were re-recorded and the album remixed into a state that still didn't please anyone in the band completely. Labels seemed to lose interest. Spirits sagged.

Then, this past December, Lightburn — whose relationship with the band had been rather strained all along — rode to the rescue by roping engineer Dave Schiffman, who's worked on records by the likes of System of a Down, Weezer, Rage Against the Machine, BRMC and the Dears, into the picture.

“He just called me and said, ‘I'll help you fix this. It's broken, but we're gonna do it,' ” recalls a grateful Couse.

“Murray just pulled it out of nowhere,” says Marskell. “Not only was (Schiffman) mixing it for way below what he would normally work at, but the whole time he was saying: ‘This is great. I'm really into it. I like it.' He was kind of the shining star at the end of all this because he brought it together.”

A text message from Lightburn confirms that he might have believed in the record a bit more than he let on to the band: “The songs are great, and great songs always win.”

In any case, here we are in a familiar position going into Canadian Music Week 2011. The Darcys have a revamped, reworked and remixed version of their self-titled sophomore album — a dense, challenging, monstrously tuneful prog-rock epic that improbably finds common ground between Radiohead and Steely Dan — in hand.

Their following has only grown exponentially during the months since their troubles, not least because the masochistically complicated, impeccably detailed and passionately played live set has become one of the best in the city, on its way to becoming one of the best in the country (“We don't get onstage to enjoy how awesome it is to be onstage,” says Marskell. “We're working.”), and record labels are once again nibbling about curiously.

It seems unlikely that the Darcys, the band, and The Darcys, the long-fought album, won't very soon find a supportive home — it's leaps and bounds ahead of Endless Water — but the band itself is too shell-shocked from past upsets to entertain such thoughts. The Darcys are, as they say, just happy to be here.

“That's what really great about this moment and going into CMW: We're at the top of our game, we have something to back and we have a reason to be playing these shows,” says Marskell. “We're not just playing them to stay afloat anymore.” - Toronto Star

"Exclaim!: North By Northeast"

The Darcys gave everything they had to the packed sweaty room. Dressed in their usual stage attire of mix-matched suits and ties, they unleashed their hectic post-rock cacophony upon listeners that looked as if they weren’t ready for it. Soon everyone slid into the noise that bounced off the walls and started dancing to indie pop masterpieces like “I Am Ship” and “Obvious Ones.” The crowd begged for “one more song” from the Toronto-by-way-of-Halifax quintet, so they whipped out their incredible cover of Final Fantasy’s “The CN Tower Belongs to the Dead,” which was transformed into a guitar-driven anthem every person in the room could shout along to. - Exclaim!

"Chart Attack: The Darcys at Sneaky Dee's (NXNE) Report Card"

These five sharply dressed rockers alternate between Toronto and Halifax, presumably chasing some invisible rock'n'roll specter the way surfers follow the big waves.

Grade: 80

Oral and Visual Communication:

Presenting a united front in their respectable grey suits, The Darcys made effective use of their stage. They were up, they were down, they bobbed, they weaved and they drank beer. As is often the case at live concerts, the vocals were rendered almost irrelevant by the guitar volume. Even with a microphone, a singer needs to know how to project in order to avoid being drowned in noise.

Musical Analysis:

More than merely sharp-dressed bar rockers, The Darcys knew when to lay in a little dissonance. They understood the value of a primal scream and the effect it can have on the blood of a man. Not every band can be heavy and smooth in turn or both at once if the situation demands. There is a time to blast and a time to swoon and The Darcys skillfully navigated this dynamic.

Other Strengths:

The suits and beards look is pretty much air-tight. The only downside is that at a glance all the band members look identical, with the notable exception of the drummer whose handlebar moustache made him look like Nick Cave. When the band announced their last song I saw many a beer being quaffed and slammed. A couple in front of me engaged in a loving, but aggressive two-person mosh and hands went into the air and they waved like seaweed on a breezy day underwater. These are things that indicate a successful music show.

Comment: Remember that scene in Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas when Dr. Gonzo is lying in the bathtub completely freaked on acid and begs Duke to play their Jefferson Airplane tape because he needs "a rising sound"? Seconds later, Duke catches him trying to pull their portable radio into the bathtub with a marlin spike. Gonzo would have killed himself if he could have reached that radio. He'd have died happy in a thunderclap of electric absolution. - Chart Attack

"CBC Radio 3 Podcast Podcast #63"

"here is a band that could easily be shortlisted for a future Polaris prize. They consider their sound akin to Smog fronting Steely Dan. From Halifax, Nova Scotia. This is the Darcys. Good Canadian Name eh?" - CBC Radio 3/Grant Lawrence

"Clash Music: Top Ten - New Canadian Acts, The best emerging talent"

#5 - The Darcys

Who? Indie pop melody masters with a penchant for throwing in some post-rock ambiance and horns. Comparisons to Radiohead can be comfortably made yet it’s still clear their classy songs and face melting live performances are entirely their own.
What? Their debut album, Endless Water, which was recorded in a Children’s Museum and is packed with all the juicy hooks and harmonies took keep it glued in your CD player for months.
From? Half dwell in Toronto, the other half are finishing off university in Halifax. - Clash Music (United Kingdom)

"Exclaim!: Tom Fun Orchestra / Bruce Peninsula / The Darcys - Horseshoe Tavern"

This was a pretty stacked show that had already drawn a substantial and attentive crowd by the time Toronto-by-way-of-Halifax indie rockers the Darcys took to the stage. While the band’s recorded material hints at a sound similar to the Dears, their amped-up live interpretations recall the Constantines at their loudest and most structured, tightly hammering on inventive riffs and then retreating into soft choruses. If the band’s live show is any indication, their second full-length should be worth watching out for. - Exclaim!

"Toronto Star: NXNE (2010) a buffett for the ears & One weekend, a year’s worth of concerts"

NXNE a buffett for the ears & One weekend

It was good a weekend to be a music lover in Toronto, with more than 650 bands of all styles and abilities playing anywhere with a stage and a socket — and a few places without — at the 16th annual NXNE music festival.

There were reunions and debuts, startling surprises and overhyped letdowns, daytime rooftop gigs and after-hours dance parties; impromptu park performances and secret special guests; not to mention the 4 a.m. Last Call, which truly made the festival an unpredictable and at times exhausting 24-hour experience.

You couldn’t swing a dead cat in this town without hitting a musician, A&R rep or music journalist, but music fans were the ones who really benefited from the all-you-could-see buffet for the ears.

It didn’t all sit well when the meal was through, but here are a few of our highlights:

The Darcys, Rancho Relaxo, 1 a.m.

“Thanks for sticking through this hot mess,” said strapping singer Jason Couse, and he understated it — the packed, overheated fans were pretty much sticking to each other. Only genuine excitement could move the cool crowd to endure these conditions, and in fact keep packing in during the set, but it was deserved. One of Toronto’s most buzzed-about rock bands kept the game varied on guitar — making skillful use of feedback and other effects, and switching adroitly from fuzzed-out spacey sounds to go choppy and angular as the songs dictated.
– G.F.

One weekend, a year’s worth of concerts

The Darcys, Rancho Relaxo (300 College St.), 1 a.m. Another of Toronto’s finest young live bands. The boys just got back from a lengthy cross-Canada tour and their rancorous, vaguely Radiohead-ian new material is top-notch. The next record’s gonna be hot, hot, hot.
– B.R. - Toronto Star

"BlogTO: The Darcys Play a Sauna"

Maybe it was because they hosted the event themselves, or because their live performances are so tight, but Thursday night the Darcys conquered the Whippersnapper Gallery. I got to the place a little late - so I (unfortunately) missed three other band's sets. I was actually there to see a Toronto favourite, Black Hat Brigade. When I discovered I'd missed their set, I was on the verge of leaving. But when I heard the Darcys playing from outside of the gallery, I decided to stay and support the melting sauna that the Whippersnapper had become.

Stepping up each stair to the gallery was unsatisfying, it felt like you were leaving behind the ability to breathe. I guess nobody really cared because when I stepped in, a huge crowd was huddled around the Darcys. I glimpsed at their Myspace a while ago, and they seemed like any other Indie band (because Indie really is a genre these days).

Seeing them live is a whole other experience. Everyone in the crowd was feeling it- and the energy reflected the stage. They played with good presence, and wild guitar effects- at one point I wasn't sure what the sounds being made were, and I couldn't even tell you where they were coming from.

Their songs are drilled in my head after last night...which is more than their Myspace ever did. They finished their set telling everyone to stick around for the next band, but their words didn't really make a difference.

The Darcys finished their flawless set, and the crowd slowly started disappearing. - BlogTO

"Toronto Star: CMW (2010) A most enjoyable recurring Nightmare"

Toronto's Darcys have weathered some spirit-testing turmoil recently, culminating in a major membership meltdown a couple of weeks ago that saw them lose a singer. They bounced back at the El Mo harder, heavier and more assured than ever, though. The present-day Darcys are a dramatic, tumultuous guitar-rock outfit, gunning doggedly for the epic and, by the sounds of it, working out their frustrations in roiling arrangements that now rarely pause for breath.
-Ben Rayner - Toronto Star

"The Portland Mercury: End Hits - Endless Water review"

..Their album, Endless Water, starts with the isolated handclaps and unison vocals of “Strange Fits,” and moves to heights of grandeur in “We Twin Bruises.” Meanwhile, “When We Were a Wilderness” bridges the gap between nonchalance and longing, with circular guitar trills building on top of a half-finished guitar riff and solo pulses from the bass, before moving into a loose, meandering jam...when the band stretches out on the “Where Are Your Daughters/No More Love Songs/Endless Water” triptych, which features some Midlake-esque harmony vocals and some French lyrics, they capture a sense of history, space, and loss. And “Subsequent Ghosts” is beautiful and slow, what they would have called a power ballad twenty years ago, but never falls into the trap of overkill or becomes guilty of sounding like Coldplay. It’s just a little too weird, and raw. Thank god.

If anything, though, the album can at times seem a little anonymous, as if the band’s identity is afraid to assert itself through the delicately alluring music they’ve created. A little more personality wouldn’t hurt. And it’s a tad overinflated, too—the “Untitled (Bedroom Beats)” interlude is totally pointless. But the majority of the music on the record is gracefully, subtly wonderful, bringing to mind chilly weather and vast areas of open water. It knows the importance of warm clothing and shared body warmth. It recognizes the harsh beauty—not only in one’s natural surroundings, wherever they may be—but in new, unexplored emotions, which might be the most terrifying and exhilarating sort of frontier. - The Portland Mercury (Portland, Oregon)


Release Date: October 25, 2011
Produced By Murray A. Lightburn (The Dears)
Mixed By Dave Schiffman (Weezer, BRMC, Rage Against The Machine)
Mastered By Howie Weinberg (Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins)

THE DARCYS - "AJA" (Arts & Crafts)
Release date: January 24, 2012



For a long time we refused to release this record.
We were finished trying to make it sound perfect, or even good. The record had become less an emblem of promise for a young band and more a symbol of failure and loss. It was a mess. The band was a mess. As the days passed, the possibility of finishing this record slipped further and further away. We were crippled with anxiety and questioned moving forward. That isn't to say we wanted to quit. We just wanted to write a better record. We wanted to prove we could release something. As our peers put out records all around us, our camp fell silent. We had nothing to show.
We regrouped and made the decision to keep going when the prospect of success seemed most bleak. Our restlessness became introspection. We rebuilt during our darkest time, the winter of 2010, focusing solely on our new lineup and spirit in the live setting. We had to, or collapse.
After three years of recording and re-recording and less a member, our record lay in pieces across three cities. Eventually, it was healed by Dave Schiffman. With immense patience and skill, he took a chaotic mess and turned it into something dense and challenging, yet beautiful and rewarding. It is now a record we are proud to share, no longer an insurmountable obstacle, but another promising beginning.
We have to come view The Darcys as a band without a history before those moments of resuscitation. In turn, we will be measured by what follows.
The release of this record means everything to us.
Finally, it is worth hearing.