Songs We Love: The Darcys, 'Arizona Hwy'

May 24, 2017
Originally published on May 25, 2017 7:44 am

Wayne and Garth head-banged, air-drummed and shrieked their way through "Bohemian Rhapsody" in their flame-decaled AMC Pacer. Romy and Michele couldn't remember any of the words to "Footloose" as they tore off to Tucson in their borrowed 1989 Jaguar XJ-S. And now, Jason Couse and Wes Marskell let their mustaches blow in the wind as they rip down the "Arizona Hwy" in an aging, blue Chevy El Camino.

The Darcys forwent the traditional staging of a lip-synced music video in favor of filming a no-acting-required, real West Coast joyride. Important word of warning for parents: This video may not be advisable for kids because the guys ride in the trunk with no seat belts — and also because they make being in a band look like the best job ever. The band members enjoy pit-stops at seedy motels and pet dogs with weird haircuts. They engage in poolside shenanigans and eat single maraschino cherries out of takeout containers. And what road trip with friends is complete without a moment of existential reflection? Couse and Marskell take theirs while staring into the funhouse mirror exterior of a tiny plane.

"Arizona Hwy" appears on The Darcys' latest release, Centerfold, a glossy departure from the darker indie-rock sound of the band's previous records. The song has everything you want from an '80s-inspired summer jam — from a booming backbeat to wacky flourishes that evoke Miami Sound Machine to synthesizers so bright you need sunglasses to read lyrics about actual sunglasses: "Just get in, I'll explain along the way / Dark sunglasses and a desert highway." You can hear a hint of a wink in Couse's breathy vocals, suggesting that if you find any of the lyrics or production a little more silly than serious, the band is in on the joke.

The rest of the album features a similar hooky sheen grounded by smart lyrics and heart, with just the right amount of camp. And the interplay between Marskell and Couse is just as fresh on the record as it is in this video. Sure, nobody likes being the third wheel. But if you see The Darcys zooming by on a highway near you this summer, it's probably worth sticking out your thumb and seeing if you can hitch along in the ol' El Camino.


Centerfold is out now via Arts & Crafts.

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