For an unsigned, indie band, that combines the gritty raw power of blues with the smoothly polished finesse of modern rock, one could do worse than the tragically hip landscape of Brooklyn, New York; a borough that’s delivered astronauts, rappers, playwrights and comedians to our pop culture. And like the landscape from where they came, Arc & Stones, is reverent, ironic and sophisticated, in a way that separates and defines them, as the next great band, you’re gonna want to hear.
There seems to be an increasing trend for unsigned indie bands producing EP’s versus LP’s; and there are probably a lot of great reasons for doing this; cost, logistics, etc… It’s definitely an interesting point of discussion on the blogs and music news zines that I frequent; with no clear cut decision of which is better. From my perspective, I’m a fan of the EP, for a few reasons. 4-6 songs can demonstrate a wide array of style, talents and sounds; I can get a good sense of a band in 4-6 tight, kick-ass songs. And if I dig a band, I would like to hear from them more often—even in shorter doses—than waiting a couple of years for an LP. And this speaks directly to what I love about EP’s; to quote from Seinfeld, they can “leave on a high note”—which is exactly what the Brooklyn based alternative rock band, Arc & Stones accomplish in their five song EP; they leave us wanting more.
The opening track, ‘Silence’, showcases excellent guitar work with blues influence; from the first riff soaring into the air, you know you have not heard the last of these guys; they are here, and they are here to stay. The ensemble regularly draws comparisons to Muse or Black Keys—which is not a bad thing, for sure. I don’t listen to either of those bands enough to make that assessment. I do listen to Chris Cornell, Red Hot Chili Peppers and lots of rarities and B-Sides of U2—(circa mid-‘80’s), and these are the tones I hear echoed in this EP; unique, powerful and enduring.
‘Say Goodbye’, is a shattering display of pensive, ‘grab you in the gut’ vocals. Think Dave Matthews—on steroids. ‘Let Me Down’, is lyrically strong with a cool piano intro. It’s a succinct poppy number that could easily fit into the soundtrack of any of the current Vampire Love Stories or CW teen angst shows. Near the end, the tempo is picked up slightly with a wonderful harmonizing, that makes you want to listen again, just so you can join in. ‘She’s Mine’ is part Black Crowes, part Govt. Mule, all rock and slide. It’s a good time, old fashioned boot stomping record. The closing track, ‘Rise’, is a great balance and showcase for the talents, cumulatively and individually, of this alt-rock band. The guitar gets some much deserved and well craved solo time; the vocals weave between poignant and sentimental to intense and fierce.
What I love about this band, and why I put cursor to screen immediately upon receiving the EP, is that Arc & Stones, comprised of young twenty-something’s, are a godsend. They are turning out sensual blues rock, in an era when stages are overflowing with dancing elephants, barely clad performers and feathered headdresses that would rival the best drag shows. Arc and Stones are proving that good old fashioned rock and roll has not died; and we give a hearty ‘thank you’ for that.
About Heather Jacks
Vixen of Vocabulary who likes to wax poetic about the world of street art, music,busking and all things indie. She has earned two college degrees, traveled extensively and written three books. She is currently finishing the multi-media project, The Noise Beneath the Apple Art-Style Book, to be released in NYC, Spring 2013.