Tim Darcy, “Saturday Night”
Over the course of their first two albums, Montreal’s Ought have painted raw rock and roll energy with an art-pop sheen, layering a generally rambunctious foundation with intriguing, experimental instrumentation. Frontman Tim Darcy’s debut solo album takes a similar approach, but it feels more like Darcy’s own personal exploration of sounds and genres, ideas and influences. Having handled the bulk of the instrumentation himself, Saturday Night finds Darcy very much unrestrained by being on his own.
As such, these eleven songs flit between more straightforward indie rockers—the Velvet Underground-y “Tall Glass of Water,” the wistful baroque pop of “Still Waking Up” (which wouldn’t sound out of place on a Magnetic Fields album), and the jarring, Joy Division nihilism of the title track—and more outré stylings. There’s the capricious, genre-melting “Joan, Pt. 1, 2,” the amorphous instrumental of “Beyond Me,” and the indistinct hidden closing track closer “Joan, Pt. 3,” which barely exists within its sub-two-minute time frame, save for a hush of dead air and a lo-fi refrain.
While that all could have resulted in an incoherent mess, that’s not the case. Rather, Saturday Night brings all these disparate parts together to create a record that courses through your brain, awakening synapses as it goes and jolting you to actually listen and pay attention. It’s a fine demonstration of Darcy’s versatility as a songwriter and his thorough understanding of the balance between art and craft. This record will probably appeal to people less than the songs of his regular band, but seek to understand what he’s doing here and you’ll ultimately be rewarded.