Monday, August 5, 2013
Up From the Underground: Arc&Stones
This E.P. from the New York band is the surprisingly soulful "Silence". It's 90's vibe brings to mind a wide array of bands who once used a similar vocal approach, Maroon 5 the most recent of these . However, Arc&Stones don't have the Stevie Wonder funk going on, and more of grunge leaning, so think somewhere between Sevendust's more acoustic based moments and Chris Cornell solo work but with none of his Robert Plant worship.
One similarity to Temple of the Dog era Cornell, is they are quick to head to the balladry. The second song of this e.p."Say Goodbye" is piano heavy until it goes to the bridge where the guitars sweep in. The vocal trills might be appreciated to some one with a secret love of radio pop. The most "indie rock" element of this band is their guitars which use ample effects. The chorus of this one busts into some unexpected cock-rock lite, none of the Motley Crue grime, think Sixx A.M. very slick and f.m radio ready, when radio was a thing. I guess in today's terms they would pop up on your Chris Cornell Pandora station.
It stays on the middle of the road side of power ballads, by the third song , I wonder if these guys area Christian rock band , if not its a market they need to explore or add a slide to make this cross over into country markets. There isn't enough raw blues to this to appeal to the Jack White fans who even they might suspect this of being a Christian band. The singer is really missing his calling as an American Idol contestant.
They switch up the guitar tones to try and make me eat my words, but it really reconfirms my suspicions, they need to develop a drinking habit or some vices next time they head into the studio. Because rock is like funk in that you can't fake. They are talented players sure, and if they weren't trying so hard to convince themselves they are making pop music they might write a decent song or two. It's like buying a pair of 500.00 dollar per-distressed jeans, they are not going to feel the same because they haven't been worn in by hard work .
They close it out with "Rise", I appreciate the production of this one the most and there's a solid groove to it, this seems to be the direction they have been trying to achieve most of the album. Granted it rocks like watered down Shine Down, but is more honest and sounds like an actual rock band. They played their first show a year ago so they still have some more blood, sweat and beers to fully find themselves.