From a name which is instinctively memorable and carrying a sound made up of potent temptations, certainly on the evidence of new EP Ravens And Writing Desks, Italian rock band Arsenic Unbirthday is one of those propositions which just courts personal attention from the first touch. Like a mix of Forever Still and Skunk Anansie, the Cagliari quartet is described in their bio as “a poisonous alternative rock band.” Truth is their seduction is far sweeter and warmer yet indeed with a creative toxicity and snarl which ensures every track on their new proposition leaves the imagination and appetite captivated.
Formed by guitarist Nick Farlight and vocalist Mary Red Mallow, Arsenic Unbirthday has gone through the several line-up changes which cross many bands, emerging stronger and more inventive whilst adding shows with numerous established artists to their CV along the way. Following an early demo, the band recently linked up with Epictronic for the world wide release of their first official EP, and an ear opening, attention nudging offering it is surely going to prove.
The chilled winds of My Enemy embrace ears first, accompanied by a vocal narrative of gothic fairy tale breeding. The song gradually brews up a melodic tempting around them, the provocative guitar and keys shaped imagination of Farlight draping the brooding rhythmic frame sculpted by drummer Alex Stowe and bassist Emmanuel. It is a tantalising proposal swiftly accentuated by the siren-esque expression and tones of Mary Red Mallow, her voice an inviting romance in the darker atmosphere of the music. There is more to the encounter than a gothic and dark rock proposal though, an electronic enterprise blossoming across the enjoyable start to the EP and providing the track with a flourish in its climax.
The strong opening continues with Unnecessary Pain. Immediately its sinister electronic caress has a Nine Inch Nails breath to its drama, one soon breeding a bubbly tempting before expanding into a fascinating soundscape of vivacious and unpredictable enterprise within an exotic electro climate. The warp resonance of melodies through the keys is gorgeous and perfectly tempered by the sobering dark bassline cast by Emmanuel. If the first song was an imposing awakening of ears its successor is a full on infestation of the senses, spreading intoxicating melodies and contagious imagination as it gets under the skin.
It is fair to say Ravens And Writing Desks already just gets bolder and more impressive with every track, proven by the fiery almost predatory presence of Imperfect and in turn by the sheer beauty of Another Sin To Hide. The first of the pair roams and stalks the senses with rapacious riffs and crisply connecting rhythms, all under the spell of the ever bewitching vocals. There is a certain carnivorous texture to the riffs which cannot be shaken by the flowing charms of keys and vocals, though they equally share the listener with the smoother haunted theatre of melodies and their evocative flirtation. Its successor is a kiss on the senses and imagination, a seducing power ballad with melancholic strings and climactic emotional outpourings which simply bow to the superb voice and delivery of Mary Red Mallow. The song is spellbinding, as all songs not startlingly unique yet providing a presence and attention stealing adventure quite a few bands can only imagine.
The electronic heart of Leaves Beneath continues not only the imagination of the release but the variety too. All songs come with the same kind of core template but each unveils its own distinctive character and presence with this a compelling persuasion. Its electro elements are like shards of light breaking upon a shadowed land, though the scenery itself basks in a warm melody and vocal enriched elegance. A whisper of Evanescence is a creeping suggestiveness across the gripping enchantment and drama of the song, and another spice to ponder and enjoy.
The EP closes on, with for personal tastes its pinnacle, the mouth-watering Sparklet. The track is a merger of numerous styles and flavours, emerging from a golden pool of electronic and atmospheric beauty into an intimate and jazzy stroll with a whiff of Stolen Babies to its almost devilish temptation. Equally there is a slow but open swagger to the rhythmic luring of the track, everything leading to dramatic crescendos before settling back down into that addictive teasing of the psyche. The song is outstanding, the peak of the release and further evidence of the enjoyable and impressive diversity to sound, songwriting, and imagination within Arsenic Unbirthday.
An encounter which also grows and improves with every listen, Ravens And Writing Desks is the introduction of a band with the potential to breach the broadest, intensive spotlights.
The Ravens And Writing Desks EP is available now via Epitronic @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/ravens-and-writing-desks-ep/id958179588
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