by Jack Kredell | photos by Megan Mack
The stage at Cake Shop, a dog-eared venue in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, is a sagging wooden platform held together by beer-soaked carpet with a backdrop of golden streamers. The ceiling above the stage is low and draped with little white Christmas lights. At some point during the set Jason Couse, lead singer and rhythm guitarist of The Darcys, lost control of his guitar and ripped down a string of lights that wound around his head like radiant crown. It seemed like a fitting tribute to a band whose sound is a bewitching combination of opulence and chaos.
That sound is dominated by post-rock influences but cleft in places where lighter and brighter things have made their mark – such as the warmth of Oasis. There’s a swirling, droning quality to the upper ranges that is fed and supported by a brisk and invigorating rhythm section. The Darcys will playfully entertain pop song structures and tonality before ultimately revealing a different and more oblique harmonic disposition (remember, this is a band that released a track-for-track homage to Steely Dan’s Aza). The songs are like constellations in that you could trace the outline of a pop song but in reality it’s just a collection disparate stars.
In the age of Youtube I often wonder about the usefulness and audience for live show reviews. So far, at CMJ I’ve seen a handful of bands where the Youtube clip would’ve sufficed. What can I tell you about a band’s live show that two or three minutes of streaming reality can’t? In the case of The Darcys, only this: go. You can catch them tonight, Friday October 18th with Flagship, Duologue, Misun, Claire, and The Ceremonies at Spike Hill in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.