The Darcys

Label Year is a feature in which I purchase all of the releases of a given record label for an entire calendar year and post on each one. I will also look at other significant releases from the label's past. 2011 will be devoted to Arts & Crafts out of Toronto. For more info, check out the introduction.


  • Artist: The Darcys
  • Title: The Darcys
  • Format: Album (Vinyl and Digital)
  • Release Date: 10/25/11
  • Catalog Number: A&C064

The Darcys – Shaking Down The Old Bones by Arts & Crafts

The Darcys are a band from Toronto, but to me they sound like they could easily be from the UK. A lot of the touchstones or memory triggers I get when listening to their new record The Darcys make me think of British bands. It's not any one in particular, yet there's a flash of Radiohead here, a bit of Coldplay there, some Elbow and some Beta Band, and plenty more. Something about the way the piano lines intertwine with the melodies, that distinctive guitar tone, the dextrous and rhythmic drumming, and even singer Jason's deep voice, I can't help thinking of these other bands. I'm not saying it to be a bad thing; to the contrary, this is definitely a band worth checking out.

As the fourteenth Arts & Crafts release of the year, it is once again a surprise to realize this album stands out from all the rest. A few weeks ago, Eight and A Half was profiled as the first brand new A&C artist of 2011. The Darcys can't take that honor then, but they are the first new signee of the year to release a full length album. And unlike Chikita Violenta, Memphis, Timber Timbre, Dan Mangan, and Feist, this album is available for free digitally, with an option to purchase on vinyl. There is no CD version and the pressings are limited. This represents an innovative promotional tactic on the part of the label, which might seem a risk until one considers there are two soon-to-be released albums on the way.

2012 should be a big year for the Darcys because of the new music, as well as touring. But before we get to ahead of ourselves, let me say that The Darcys is very great sounding album. It hardly sounds like the work of a new band. Perhaps that could be due to the long, drawn out recording (and re-recording) process, but I think it also has to be related to the talent of the guys in the band. The drumming is particularly excellent, whether it is charging forward on a song like "Don't Bleed Me," or locked into a groove like on "House Built Around Your Voice" – the very next track. Almost every song plays with noise and effects to make things more atmospheric, which creates a neat juxtaposition with the precision of the guitars and piano. It's a sonically rich record. I like the tracks such as "I Will Be Light," that have strong dynamics and transitions too.

You can get this album for free at The Darcys website or buy it on vinyl at GalleryAC. Check out the video for "Don't Bleed Me" below, as well as details on the next of our few remaining installments and all of the previous ones.

Next time on Label Year: Los Campesinos! – Hello Sadness (album)

Previously on Label Year: