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Warring is among the most stunning and inspired albums of the millennium, on par with Arcade Fire’s Funeral and Interpol’s Turn on the Bright Lights. The third installment for the Toronto art-rock quartet pairs heavy and foreboding instrumentation with deafening rhythm and hook-filled songwriting.
Somewhere in the venue of the Dears and the Doves, the Darcys impose a glum indie rock trinity (electric guitar, bass and drums) with a dim spotlight centered singer/keyboardist Jason Couse.
Often daring the falsetto, Couse is reined in and controlled, imparting subtle emotional pulls while maintaining a long cool delivery. “The Pacific Theatre” is an understated deviation from the album’s forceful up-tempo core (think Jeff Buckley’s version of “Hallelujah”). A lone piano murmurs with Couse’s fertile octaves: “I know rain soaked through / And our hearts bleed wanting a new day / Pack up your fears.”
Unconventional turns, pacing and novel songwriting (“Hunting” and “Itchy Blood”) rewards Warring with listenability and artistic nuance. It’s an album distinguished for implacable understatement. A song like “Pretty Girls” goes by unassuming, romping with rhythmic energy. Closer attention notes the stark, fluid mood changes and deep volatile vocal colors underscored by barely-there harmonies and flourishing crescendos.