warring-the-darcysReleased: March 2014

Ontario quartet The Darcys’ latest effort, Warring, is a moody blend of the ethereal and the guttural that aims high and occasionally grasps greatness but could use a little more conflict to really take off.

With Warring, it’s very clear that The Darcys have hit upon a sound they’re comfortable with. Glistening post-rock guitars slink in and out of focus over Jason Couse’s delicate vocals while, subtle, skittering electronics add flavour and a robust rhythm section gives their astral sonics a spine to cling to. Over the course of this album, The Darcys wring this sound for all it’s worth. Opener Close To Me starts delicately before muscular drums and thin, dirty guitars enter the fray half way through, hammering things into shape. Hunting is an obvious highlight, with urgent drums, scratchy post-punk guitars and one hell of a bass line hitting harder and faster than anything else here and really standing out as a result.

In fact The Darcys barely put a foot wrong here and, weirdly, that’s the one major thing holding Warring back. In isolation most of these songs are excellent but back-to-back, their adherence to the same rulebook becomes a little too obvious. When listened one after the other these songs become a little, well, samey and it’s sometimes difficult to distinguish where one song ends and another begins. This is especially true on the softer songs with tracks like Horses Fell and Itchy Blood melting together a bit too seamlessly. It’s the nosier tracks like Hunting and Muzzle Blast that make the biggest impression, though stark piano ballad The Pacific Theatre also differentiates itself enough to remain in your memory.

Still, consistency is hardly the worst sin a band can commit and Warring is nothing if not consistent. What you’re getting here is a solid dose of brooding, emotive guitar music that’s at its best when it pushes against the boundaries of its strict formula. Here’s hoping The Darcys’ next effort pairs their admirable song craft with a little more daring.

★★★

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