Tim Darcy Mines His Soul, Unearthing Gold
Tim Darcy begins Saturday Night with a song called “Tall Glass of Water” in which he asks the question, “And at the end of the river, if there is more river, would you dare to swim again?” He frames this question in many ways over the next 37 minutes, but the answer is always the same. “Yes, surely I would stay,” he continues: “And I am not afraid.” Saturday Night is driven by the engine of this certainty. It always seems to be homeward bound, even while wheeling with dissonance. It crackles with poetry despite bleak visions. For 37 minutes, Darcy provides a probing and personal exposé of his own spirit, calling on tools such as screeching violins and gospel choirs to help paint the picture.
“Joan Pt 1, 2,” the album’s 3rd track, is a vibrant microcosm of all that surrounds it. From a between-radio-station crackle, it falls into a driving guitar section, churning with distortion and Darcy’s country twang; this dissolves into a somber and minimal echo chamber, which then elevates into a rousing series of, “I knew who you were before, and I don’t mind.” It’s a deeply focused piece, searching with devout earnestness for some sort of spiritual resolution. It winds up stumbling into revelation. However, sometimes Darcy finds himself unable to escape suffocation, as on “Saturday Night,” a haunted, claustrophobic piece built on screaming violins and the refrain, “I wish I’d ran away sooner to save time.” In other moments he sees an end, but it’s just out of reach: “I think I’ve finally found my limit,” he sings on “Found My Limit,” his voice shaking down like dust from the rafters (“And if it was deep enough, I’d swim in it”). The album concludes with an instrumental number, “Beyond Me,” which recalls some sort of vagabond orchestra trying to tune up.
There was a moment during the first recording session for Saturday Night that Darcy almost walked away from the project. Another moment of resolve caused him to turn back. Creating music this honest requires profound self-awareness and the courage to transcribe your findings. Darcy has gone the distance, and he was rewarded with 11 songs pulled directly from the darkest corners of his spirit, where, in a hopeful sign, he managed to find light.