By: Staff –
Acclaimed Toronto-based art rock band Darcys have announced the release of their new studio album, Centerfold. The album, which is set for release on November 4th via Arts & Crafts, represents the culmination of almost a decade of challenging their own limitations. The band also released a brand new single entitled “San Diego, 1988”, which follows the summer radio hit, “Miracle.” Stream “San Diego, 1988” below.
“San Diego, 1988” is a suburban romantic saga “about giving into the fantasy of escapism and defending the idea of a simpler kind of love,” says the band’s drummer and lyricist Wes Marksell. “‘All we need is each other and the open road,’ or so the story goes.”
Through half a dozen releases in as many years, including the Polaris Music Prize and JUNO Award-nominated album Warring, and three other official releases with Arts & Crafts, Darcys remain as unique for their varied approach to writing and releasing music as they have at times been held back by it. In 2014, multi-instrumentalist Jason Couse and Marskell, the group’s founding members, intent on forging ahead as a duo, set the stage for the band’s greatest self-imposed challenge – making a credible pop record worthy of global attention.
Cue Centerfold: 10 shimmering songs that pull together glossy production and airtight hooks, including aforementioned funk-tinged summer anthem “Miracle”, and the sparkling, desert-creased heartache of “Arizona Hwy”. The album, inspired by the shameless maximalist lean of 1980s classics like Back To The Future and Blade Runner and the era’s grandiose pop efforts, be they from Bowie or Chic.
Evolving through a painstaking process wherein the duo generated more than 50 songs, and over two years of extensive recording in New Zealand, Los Angeles, Banff and Toronto, the album was produced by Grammy-award winner Shawn Everett (Alabama Shakes, Julian Casablancas) with an eye to making truly expansive pop songs that are retro-hued yet rooted in the sounds of today. “We knew we wanted the record to sound modern, pop-minded and sun-bleached,” says Marksell. “Once we managed to assemble our production team I was confident we were going to have one of the best sounding records coming out of Toronto.”
That team, which included mixer Matty Green (TV On The Radio, The Weeknd) and mastering engineer Emily Lazar (Vampire Weekend, Haim), came together throughout 2014 and 2015 and turned the band’s great pop experiment into a very real record. “Gone is the epic, guitar-led rock and in its place, some slick studio pop that is primed for mass consumption,” music journalist Cam Lindsay noted via Noisey around the release of the album’s lead single “Miracle.”
But consumption aside, the goals of this project and process are the same for Darcys as they have always been – to make records that defy the listener to categorize the artist, or pigeonhole a song. “There was never an agenda to sacrifice anything,” Marskell added in response to questions about whether the band planned to “sell out” with Centerfold. “Was the implication really that we were going to make a shitty record? We’re not really working with a formula and there was never an obvious next record for us. If anything, a pop record seems as logical as anything else.”
But there’s nothing especially logical about it. The 10 songs on Centerfold see the Toronto-based duo exploring consistent themes of escapism and manifest destiny, inspired from the front seats of a borrowed El Camino and night drives through the Hollywood Hills, looking down on golden coast lines and reflecting on stories of dreams chased, met and more often, brutally dashed.
01 Studio City
03 San Diego, 1988
04 Virtual Reality
05 Arizona Highway
06 Coming Up For Air
07 I Want It All
09 Black Diamonds
10 Lip Service