If you don’t immediately recognize the name Thomas D’Arcy, that’s because the Toronto-based musician has spent the better part of his musical career performing under other monikers.
No longer: With What We Want, D’Arcy’s first solo album under his own name in nearly two decades of creating music, the songwriter has left behind the sounds of past projects—Small Sins and The Carnations, among others—in favour of unabashed pop. With sweet and simple earworms like “I Wake Up Every Day” and “Credit!” (lyrical cynicism disguised by layers of glossy production), it’s easy to see why D’Arcy made the switch.
Curiously, though, What We Want’s truly spectacular moments come when you least expect them. After a slow start, ambient ballad “Love Will Bring Me Down” evolves into the album’s highlight—a beautifully building orchestration of noise. And two superbly tasteful guitar solos are buried deep in the tracklist, atop the airy harmonies in the dying minutes of “Help Me Clear My Mind” and tucked away in the bridge of the title track. Other tracks are less memorable, and an overreliance on doubling (or, more likely, quadrupling) D’Arcy’s vocal tracks leaves little room for sonic and dynamic variety.
Nonetheless, What We Want succeeds as a pop album thanks to those big choruses and irresistible hooks—the flashes of brilliance on top of that are a bonus.
Playlist picks “I Wake Up Every Day,” “Love Will Bring Me Down,” “Goodbye My Friend,” “My Time Is Short”
Thomas D’Arcy plays the Horseshoe (370 Queen St. W.) on Feb. 9.