Broken Social Scene, Doves, Steely Dan
The Darcys do not behave like a normal rock band, but they are more and more evident of a new breed of artists. Artists who find the expression of music and the shared experience to be of more value than any monetary distraction, artists who struggle like mad to bring their expression to the world and ask for nothing in return but the chance to continue to do so, artists who love music for what it gives them, not for what they can take from it. No, The Darcys do not behave like a normal rock band, they're better.
It still blows my mind to think that 2007 was a full five years ago, but it was, and it was also the year when a little-known Toronto indie art band pulled from Pride & Prejudice and debuted an album of progressive highlights and naive indie insights. The Darcys had no label when their debut record, Endless Water, first hit the local scene, but the word of mouth they generated led to talks and hopes and even an offer from Murray Lightburn of the Dears to produce the group's self-titled sophomore album. Things were looking up for the five man outfit, but like many plans, this one did not go accordingly.
Weeks from release, and with mixing already completed, the Darcys' lead singer Kirby Best simply walked away from the band without warning, devastating the tightly balanced rhythms of the group. The Darcys hastily re-arranged themselves into a frenetic four-piece group and focused on re-working an album already in trouble. After three mixings, legal disputes with Best, and a seemingly endless supply of obstacles in their path, things looked bleak for the band. Yet, they never threw in the towel, and their persistence paid off when Toronto's seminal Arts & Crafts label, the folks behind Broken Social Scene and Feist among an army of like-minded artists, approached the Darcys about joining the team.
The group's self-titled album finally saw the light in October of last year, as the first part of a planned trilogy of albums, available for free download from Arts & Crafts. Not only did this mark the first free album the label has offered, it sparked an international awareness of the band overnight. Now, after so many years of struggle, the Darcys are finding the payoff not in dollar signs, but in the fans and friends they've made and affected over the years. More recently, the group indulged in a new, very unique kind of art project when they re-imagined the classic 1978 Steely Dan album, Aja. As the second part of the trilogy, Aja finds the Darcys completely re-envisioning Steely Dan's classic jazz rock album within a brilliantly moody and layered shoegaze filter, forming a radically different sound and expressing their own darkly emotional edge. Looking ahead, the band already has a collection of songs ready for the final part in the project, and figuring their intensely artful music has never been better, you should discover The Darcys now, and thank me later.