Published Nov 11, 2020The Darcys' Wes Marskell says that he and collaborator Jason Couse were aiming to "blur the line between fact and fiction" and to create a character that is a hybrid of themselves who "bought the dream and lived to tell the story." Their latest work, Fear & Loneliness, is a walk through a dream with the weight of reality thumping against the ground.
The Darcys are ever-evolving, but their earlier work has had an artsy leaning, including a moody reinterpretation of Steely Dan's Aja that some said better conveyed the lyrics than the original. Later, they would take a trek into funkier terrain with 2016's Centrefold.
A move from Toronto to Los Angeles has turned the Darcys in yet a new direction. Fear & Loneliness' opening title track begins with the sound of classic Hollywood instrumentals and the lyrics follow in a slow, somber swoon. However, the band's funk perseveres.
Above all, the Darcys maintain their tendency to reimagine, to get to the heart of the matter and to explore how music can convey what words can't. Dream and disillusionment are not opposites — they are different sides of the coin of vulnerability; this notion is brought to mind on the funky "Boys Don't." In keeping with this theme, "Look Me in the Eyes" is an up-tempo song about facing hard truths.
The mood is shaken again as the beautiful, shapeshifting instrumental funhouse of "Reservoir No. 4" leads us into "Cowboy Movies," where a gritty guitar can be made out, snaking through the mood music against the lyrics "I'll be your Marlboro Man," and finishes with "Glory Days," which sounds fit for an intimate bar setting.
The funk thumps through the Western and old Hollywood panache — the layer of dreams and pretensions and disillusionment and vulnerability puff up in smoke, but the storyteller walks on to a steady electronic beat. (Warner)