The Darcys
Warring


4.5
superb

Review

by WePartWays USER (3 Reviews)
September 19th, 2013 | 41 replies | 10,845 views


Release Date: 09/17/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Boy, that bass.

12 of 12 thought this review was well written

The Darcys's third record to renowned Toronto-based label Arts & Crafts signifies a departure in any imaginable way. Following their captivating self-titled label-debut and their excellent interpretation of Steely Dan's studio opus "Aja", Warring is the third part in their trilogy of albums on A&C and their first album of original material after over three years of writing and six months of intensive studio work (remember, "The Darcys" was initially finished around 2010, but was re-recorded, remixed and remastered after the departure of then-lead-singer Kirby Best).

As The Darcys themselves aptly put it, "Warring is moving forward. It's learning in motion."; on that note, album opener "Close To Me" shows elements of both "100 Mile House" and "Black Cow". From the first note on the Rhodes piano, the listener immerses into a dream-like universe, a sonic landscape not too dissimilar from their previous work. However, as the track progresses, the differences become apparent: synths and distorted sounds follow the track to its seemingly unfulfilling end. But as with their self-titled record, the void is quickly filled up by exploding indie rock jam "Hunting". With an incredibly powerful low end, the track recalls "Turn On The Bright Lights"-era Interpol, but features a mind-blowing falsetto performance by frontman Jason Couse. Being one of the fastest-paced tracks on the record, it is also one of the most apparently guitar-driven and closest in style to their previous work. And boy, that bass.

Elsewhere, other elements of their sound have now taken a much more prominent position. On lead single "The River", bass and beats take up a lot of sonic space and show a rhythm-dominated side to The Darcys that was formerly pronounced prominently in their remixes only. Meanwhile, on songs like "Horses Fell", "747s" or "Pretty Girls", synthesizers take on the duty of carrying the song, while the guitar melodies hover over, beneath or besides the rhythm section and vocal lines.

It can be attributed to Tom McFall's production and Dave Schiffman's mixing that all the different layers of sound never seem to get into each others' ways. Unlike "The Darcys", where different instruments blurred into a big wall of sound, on "Warring", every melody remains crystal clear, every drum punches and every bass guitar stroke pumps the song forward. "Muzzle Blast" is perhaps the most prominent example to showcase the brilliant production. Synths, piano, guitars, beats merge smoothly and create an powerful as well as monumental sound bed that would work perfectly accompanying a blockbuster movie. The same could be said for album closer "Lost Dogfights", where a bombastic opening section is married with a slow-paced "post-soul" jam.

It was the textured guitar work of tracks like "House Built Around Your Voice" and "Glasnost" that earned The Darcys lots of favourable comparisons to Radiohead, but it is missed sorely on "Warring". Still, delicate piano work tries to make up for that. Rhodes-driven "Itchy Blood" recalls "The Darcys"'s "Shaking Down The Old Bones" or "Aja"'s "I Got The News", but unlike in these songs, the guitars remain much more blurred, much more distorted, with their role taken over by meandering synthesizer arpeggiators. As the electronic beats die away, the track makes room for album centerpiece "The Pacific Theatre", the odd ball seemingly being the only computer-free, drum-free song on the record. Couse, using the softest voice one has possibly heard by a male singer, delivers a haunting vocal performance singing "As I lay dying / I hope that you'll make it through / you'll make it through" in a glacial falsetto final.

It is remarkable that this is the most definite and sincere moment lyrically on an otherwise deeply cryptic record. But let's not forget that "Warring" was conceived with an eye towards the big studio opuses. In that sense, "The Pacific Theatre" is perhaps the most telling song. It is not just a usual piano ballad - the galloping echoes of Couse's voice always linger in the background to come to the front in his breathing pauses, destroying the notion that there is anything "pure", "acoustic" or "intimate" on here, or on any studio record.


user ratings (37)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
WePartWays
September 19th 2013



20 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

So here you are. This is my first review and I kinda got lost in endless sentences. You can now slaughter me.

ResidentNihilist
September 20th 2013



967 Comments


that bass bass bass bass that buttery biscuit bass



Also good review.

defjaw83
September 20th 2013



1765 Comments


Great review. Never heard of these but you've definitely made me want to check them out. Pos!

Spare
September 20th 2013



5252 Comments


u got featured

Digging: Radiator Hospital - Torch Song

Departures
September 20th 2013



872 Comments


I love these guys. They're local and they remind me of The Twilight Sad.

Digging: Blu - Good To Be Home

EaglesBecomeVultures
September 20th 2013



5193 Comments


hmmm that rec section is intriguing

Digging: FKA twigs - LP1

WePartWays
September 20th 2013



20 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

On CBC music, they featured a short list of studio opuses that influenced Warring. I have to admit I didn't listen to all of those (frankly, I only know HTTT in full, it was my first Radiohead album). I found it quite hard to find something remotely similar to this album tbh, that sound is quite unique. Also speaks for their qualities as a band. http://music.cbc.ca/blogs/2013/8/From-Voodoo-to-Sea-Change-the-Darcys-on-the-top-5-studio-opuses
Btw thanks for the kind words. Would have never thought it would generate such a buzz. Listening to the album during the last few days, I would've had enough thoughts to publish a second review; I'll leave that to some other enthusiast though.

Impervious
September 20th 2013



324 Comments


Never heard of this band nor do I know what kind of music it is but your review has peaked my interest.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
September 20th 2013



7314 Comments


"They're local and they remind me of The Twilight Sad."

Ok I'm interested.

Great first review, nice one.

Ecnalzen
September 20th 2013



6398 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Listened to the river; it was a pretty sweet song. Really dug the vocals and will have to check the rest out.

Congrats on having your first review get featured.

GauravB82
September 20th 2013



37 Comments


What kind of music is it? Who would you compare them to?

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
September 20th 2013



23798 Comments


"recommended by reviewer
Radiohead Hail to the Thief
D'Angelo Voodoo
The Darcys The Darcys
Interpol Turn On the Bright Lights"



WePartWays
September 20th 2013



20 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I don't know how I managed to write a review without mentioning either genres or similar artists. Anyway, their music is indie rock at its core with elements of shoegaze (mostly their self-titled record), soul (especially when I think of the singer; I think they once referred to Warring as "post-soul") and jazz-rock (which is a bit more prominent on "Aja").
Thinking of bands, I'd refer to Radiohead circa 2003-2008 (HTTT & In Rainbows), The Twilight Sad, Wintersleep and Interpol. Many people actually compared them to Steely Dan because they were influenced by them in their earlier work and covered one of their records, but I don't think that properly describes what they sound like.

Cygnatti
September 21st 2013



21349 Comments


I'm very interested.

Digging: The Avalanches - Since I Left You

chasehoffman99
September 22nd 2013



4 Comments


Just listened to their version of Aja. That was neat.

Mad.
September 22nd 2013



3587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Will defo check this, sounds right up my alley.

Damn good first review, even more impressive you got featured!
To reduce those paragraphs you could try making sentences a bit snappier - stuff like "It can be attributed to..." makes them seem a bit long-winded.

Digging: Dwellers - Pagan Fruit

Mad.
September 23rd 2013



3587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Just went on their Facebook page and it said free downloads so I thought "Alright, maybe it's a free single", what do I get? THEIR FIRST TWO ALBUMS FOR FREE.

WTF?

EaglesBecomeVultures
September 23rd 2013



5193 Comments


are they good?

Ecnalzen
September 23rd 2013



6398 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Free stuff, you say?

WePartWays
September 24th 2013



20 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"The Darcys" can still be downloaded for free on thedarcys.ca. "Aja" has been taken down as far as I remember, but can still be heard at Arts & Crafts's Soundcloud page. And Warring has now been put up by Steam Whistle for free download until October 1 (128 kbit only, though): http://www.steamwhistle.ca/unsigned/



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