Premiere: Listen to The Darcys’ New Single ‘Coming Up For Air’

Toronto indie rock staples The Darcys may be smack dab in the middle of a reinvention, but the band’s recent foray into pop music doesn’t mean their sound has lost any edge.

With today’s premiere of The Darcys’ new single “Coming Up For Air,” the third off their forthcoming album Centerfold, the now-duo like to think listeners get the best of both Darcys on the blistering synth-rock track.

“The backbeat has the swagger and style of the rest of Centerfold, but every so often the intensity of that rock guitar reminds you we still got it,” says drummer Wes Marskell. “We didn’t sell our guitars to buy synths.”

On “Coming Up for Air,” frontman Jason Couse bites raspily through the midtempo arrangement, which sounds like a racy hybrid of Phantogram and Beck bangers. While the lyrics of the song could be interpreted any number of ways, the band promises the new single is about something “very specific”—and even kindly gifts us a hint: it’s not about scuba diving. Noted.

Although the JUNO and Polaris Prize-nominated band has undergone a number of changes these past two years—shifting from darker art-rock towards unabashed pop, and downsizing to two members—to their surprise, the reaction they’ve received has felt unanimously positive.

“I was in the fetal position when we released [Centerfold’s first single] ‘Miracle,’ thinking we were about to get hammered by the Internet… thinking everyone was going to cry ‘sell-out,’” says Marskell. “Fortunately, I was wrong.”

In crafting the album, Marskell and Couse not only changed directions sonically, but aesthetically as well. The twosome traded their top-buttoned Oxfords for shiny bomber jackets and their moodier visuals for more colourful, retro-infused interpretations. The flashier cinematic feel of their new material is inspired by everything from Earth, Wind & Fire and Prince, to flicks like Bladerunner and Inherent Vice.

“We watched a ton of movies on silent while recording, and let them influence the tone and feel of the songs,” says Marskell. “Someone would jump up, hit pause and yell, ‘Make it sound more like that looks!’”

Centerfold’s first three singles range from upbeat and danceable to throbbing electro-rock—guaranteeing that, like their disruptive fine-tunings to date, The Darcys’ fourth LP will be anything but predictable. And, Marskell thinks the new release will sound best when spun in equally unpredictable or exciting scenarios, like, say, “a high-speed boat chase or the second season of Stranger Things.”

“It’s basically classic rock from the future.”

Centerfold drops November 4 via Arts and Crafts.