Banjo-based tea party music

“Those two little minors as you pass right through put a little dark shade on the notes, which make it, in the end, even more joyful than if it was all majors. So it’s like a little fleeting cloud going across a bright shiny sun, you know?” These words open Dame Darcy’s wryly titled “Greatest Hits” collection, but can just as easily serve as the defining remark on the eclectic artist’s entire body of work.

This apt encapsulation is rendered all the more resonant when a cursory review of the liner notes reveals that the comfortable drawl that puts forth this truism belongs to Darcy’s father before regaling his daughter with banjo rendition of “Ode To Joy.”

The remaining 27 tracks on this compilation are granted a considerable air of significance in light of their dusty home-recorded preface. The tracks are uniformly lo-fi, banjo based and warmly amateurish. Darcy’s knack for beautiful pictorial design happily translates into sweet melodies and tragically broken harmonies.

The scope of the tracklist lends itself to some unevenness in recording quality and tone. More than a cohesive album, this collection sounds like a Library-of-Congress-archive recording from some imaginary province where tea parties are compulsory and fancy reigns supreme.