Bursting with incendiary melodies, towering rhythms, and a passion which could heat oceans, the self-titled debut from alternative rock band Arc & Stones is a startling and compelling drama of imagination and craft. It is one of those releases which leave a lasting impression alongside a greedy hunger for much more. Fusing the richest elements of indie and rock with flames of blues and soul, the EP just fires up the imagination and captivates the heart from start to finish even though it equally suggests there is still much more to come from the Brooklyn quartet.
Driven by the twenty year energies and passion of Dan Pellarin (lead vocals/ rhythm guitar/keys) and Ben Cramer (lead guitar/vocals) alongside the equally dynamic energies of Eddy Bayes (bass/vocals) and Joe Doino (drums), the band has in its short time already lit up stages at major venues such as the Bowery Electric, Arlene’s Grocery, the Red Lion and the Bitter End. Their rise is in a rapid ascent which this release is sure to accelerate and build upon the great reception to their first video for the track Silence, directed by Eddy Bayes, the song which opens up the EP.
Silence initially drifts through the ear with a sultry breath and shimmering melodic caress whilst the vocals of Pellarin tease and coax emotions into the open heart of the song. Soon thumping rhythms join the affair as energies and emotions hit climactic highs. Into its stride the song has a familiar stance, which you can apply to the whole release, but brings it with a fresh and invigorating style which marks Arc and Stones as something different. Unleashing big melodies and an epic atmosphere the track is a thrilling and enthralling invitation to the band and their compelling sound, its bluesy whispers and soulful kisses within its perpetually tall walls of passion and sound irresistible.
After the tremendous start the band show their diversity with two slower even more emotive gems in firstly Say Goodbye and then Let Me Down. The first again has a familiarity which is immediate and pleasing but remains outside the realisation of who it resembles. In many ways you could call it a power balled, its feverish emotive zeal wrapped in again large melodic washes and rhythmic rampancy, though at times it also gently persuades with elegance and finesse musically and vocally. Its urgent exciting rush into its melancholic final lines just sets the passions alight to set one up for the following stroll of soul and beauty within Let Me Down. With an acoustic kiss and brewing powerful atmospheres, the song is a passional fire for the senses and thoughts. For personal tastes neither track finds the triumphant elevation of their predecessor and the songs to follow but still engage with a force which stays long after their departure. Arc and Stones when rocking it with every ounce of energy they can muster is quite breathless but also when they lay their whole musical heart out is as magnetic as anyone.
The best track on the EP is She’s Mine, a song which from its sizzling blues opening evolves into a sensational and insatiable riot of rock n roll with a ruthless feisty groove and powerful infectious barbed hooks side by side with flames of melodic contagion. Recently we reviewed the re-release of St Julian by Julian Cope, an album and songs which burst with massive contagious hooks and melodic blazes, this song has the same anthemic grandeur and unbridled passion and too can be labelled classic.
The release closes with another energetic and agitated rhythmic splendour in the alluring shape of Rise. Less thunderous in tempo than the previous song but no less addictive and catchy, especially in its charged chorus and inflamed guitar solo, the track leaves a real appetite for more.
If there is any ‘flaw’ on the release it is that every song has as mentioned that familiar stance or lush spices found elsewhere but it is so rich in quality and inventive interpretation that to be fair it just adds to the enjoyment rather than diminishing it. There is no doubt Arc and Stones will evolve their own uniqueness in time and give us even more deep rooted pleasure to that found on this excellent debut.
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