So I often have a rule when it comes to writing. It’s often quite a hard and fast operation. More often than not, you’re trying to squeeze something out for a deadline, to unleash it before a release date to maximize potential views. More often that not, you do get to sit with a record for a decent amount of time before you write about it, but sometimes you get given a pretty high-profile album, and no time at all to dive into its depths, to figure out why everything exists in the way it does, then write flourescently and transcendently about it.
This is why this blog comes in handy. Sure, I still get sent stuff, but I’m usually a little more lackadaisical when it comes to reviewing. And it provides an outlet for things that I haven’t been sent, more importantly. My own finds, my own discoveries. And I get a chance to have a decent amount of time with a record, so can properly nail up my thoughts on something. All this ramble is leading to one thing. Arcane Roots.
Their debut album, Blood and Chemistry, came out around a month ago or so, the date isn’t important here. I got out onto the record due to my twitter feed lighting up over the release, the joy of following a vast number of very connected indie labels and bands who are often more that happy to scratch each other’s backs, in the pursuit and cause of great music.
So, Arcane Roots. Where do they fit in. Well, I got to come to their record as a clean listener. I’d never heard anything else they’d made. More fool me, but it’s refreshing to be able to approach a long length in that way. The record completely blew me away. It’s equal parts ferocious and melodic. It’s an hour long without a dull moment in sight.
Every track seems to go through some kind of sea-change where it’ll start off a little bit softly-softly-catch-monkey, before turning into something epic and widescreen by the end. The band are a three-piece, bass, drums and guitar. I was tempted to throw in ‘only’ a three-piece, but the noise they are capable of making is completely incredible.
For me, on the first listen, and still to this day, ‘Triptych’ is an incredible track. It encapsulates the band so well. It opens with a frantic and mathy guitar riff flying around, while hanging the drums and bass on any square peg it can find. Guitarist and lead vocalist Andrew Groves voice is a really phenomenal weapon for the band to have in their arsenal; it’s powerful, with incredible melodic properties, and the ability to showcase some precocious fury at times. ‘Triptych’ drops into a pretty hardcore breakdown, before emerging back above ground.
There are slower moments on the record, and they serve the entire record beautifully by acting as a counterbalance to the volume of noise provided elsewhere. It shows Arcane Roots are capable of operating successfully at different speeds, and doing it well.
So this record has been with me for a month or two now, and it still provides a fresh and captivating listen. Listening to a track like ‘Resolve’ sounds almost operatic and grand in scale, but the guitar sounds so clean and full, it’s a blizzard of noise.
I had the chance to approach this record as a first-time listener, and so rather than talk for another 1,000 words diving into every element of the record, I would advise you to do the same. You can listen to the album below on Spotify, and if you really like it, or trust my judgement that much, go out and buy it, or catch them on tour.
Update: Wrote this post a week or so ago. Since then, it’s been announced that Arcane Roots are supporting Muse on some dates of their European tour. This is freaking insane news! Go check that out on tour.