The fourth studio album from Canada's the Darcys, 2016's Centerfold, is a sleek, neon-toned dance album. Having started out as a duo in 2007, Darcys lead singer/instrumentalist Jason Couse and singer/instrumentalist Wes Marskell expanded the band over the next few years into a four-member ensemble known for passionate, arty rock. It was a sound that earned them a Juno Award nomination and found them longlisted for the Polaris Music Prize for their 2013 album, Warring. Despite the accolades, Couse and Marskell chose to shift gears yet again and return to their original duo configuration. They also pivoted creatively, moving away from the moody, guitar-based atmospherics of Warring and embracing a synthy, electronics-based style steeped in '80s new wave and clubby, Giorgio Moroder-esque disco. This is the sound the Darcys champion on Centerfold. Produced by Shawn Everett (Alabama Shakes, Lucius, Julian Casablancas), Centerfold is a hooky album, full of pulsing beats, kinetic, fuzzed-out guitars, and cheeky synth-laden melodies. Imagine a combination of Strokes singer Julian Casablancas' Phrazes for the Young crossed with Daft Punk's Random Access Memories and you'll get a sense of the vibe on Centerfold. Cuts like "Miracle," "Virtual Reality," and "Alibi" are handclap-inducing anthems that straddle the line between old-school '80s club music and arty indie pop. Elsewhere, tracks like the throbbing "San Diego, 1988" and the yearning, icy "Arizona Hwy" find Couse and Marskell sliding into an infectious blend of soulful R&B and slow-burn EDM. Ultimately, while it's their fourth release, the Darcys have crafted an album that feels more like a debut. Technically, it might not be the place to start, but given its glossy, attractive qualities (as the title implies), Centerfold might just be the place you'll want to turn to first.
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AllMusic Review by Matt Collar