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Arc & Stones – Arc & Stones EP Review

Arc Stones Ep Cover

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Let’s be honest, NYC has produced its fair-share of indie-rock heavyweights – the city has always been synonymous with rock ‘n’ roll substance, as well as style. Every time the music scene seems to stagnate, Mother NYC spits out an indie titan to come resuscitate rock music’s stuttering heart. Take the early noughties, for example, when indie-rock was in the doldrums. The city responded by providing not one – but three – saviours: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Strokes, and The Rapture – who arrived to revitalise and provide some much-needed CPR to the fragmenting music scene.

Arc & Stones are a four-piece indie-rock outfit from NYC and are hoping to add their name to that list of indie-rock hard-hitters. On the basis of their debut EP, they’ve got the talent to give it a shot. It takes opening track “Silence” all of ten seconds to pull you in with its filthy spindly guitar riff before, seconds later, leader singer Dan Pellarin’s vocal bleeds in, sounding like some unholy fusion of Dan Auerbach and Caleb Followill. The track gradually escalates towards a wildy addictive scream-a-long chorus, and there’s a sense of urgency and drive in the lingering build-up that’s invigorating.

“Say Goodbye” gravitates more towards soulfully styled rock than the balls-out R ‘n’ R of the opener, but follows the same sonic pattern of slowly building towards a euphoric climax, though it’s sadly marred by an aggressive bridge that devolves into clich with the “I don’t care if I’m addicted/ The drug I need is you…” lyric.

It’s track three “Let me Down” where the band strike the perfect balance: wrapping Pellarin’s vocal in delicate piano and subtle fretwork, and allowing his powerful molten vocals to dicate the course of the song without ever seeming overbearing.

Track four “She’s Mine”, despite being in and of itself a solid high-energy chant-along rocker, borders on out-and-out mimicry in the context of Arc & Stones’ key influence being The Black Keys. It’s a shame because it’s adddictive: filthy angular guitar riffs, driving percussion and sleazy bass. But when you consider that this is the work of an unsigned band who are yet to work on their debut album it shows promise. It also contains one of the EP’s best lyrics with the line “your beauty was a banquet”.

Arc Stones Bw Live

Final track “Rise” has a fantastic reverb-drenched guitar riff that spurs the song along. It’s darker than the other works on display here, sonically and thematically (the lyrics allude to a post-war generation that’s struggling to find its sense of identity) and offers an interesting insight into territories that the band might explore in future.

This is a solid EP that’s not short of moments of greatness, and is marred only by the band’s adherence to tried-and-tested formulae employed by bands that inspire them – Kings of Leon, The Black Keys, The Cramps. That being said, for a debut EP it shows promise, especially in their ability to craft blistering tunes and in the frontman they have to deliver them.

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