|Arcane Roots —•— Blood & Chemistry|
Arcane Roots —•— Blood & Chemistry
Location: Surrey, UK
Original Release Date: 6 May 2013
Label: Play It Again Sam
Copyright: 2013 Arcane Roots. Released under exclusive license by Play It Again Sam. Play It Again Sam is a label of the [PIAS] Entertainment Group
Total Length: 58:07
01. Energy Is Never Lost, Just Redirected (5:12)
02. Resolve (4:05)
03. Belief (5:17)
04. Sacred Shapes (5:03)
05. Hell & High Water (5:35)
06. Triptych (6:12)
07. Slow (7:29)
08. Second Breath (5:46)
09. Held Like Kites (4:41)
10. You Keep Me Here (8:46)
¦ Arcane Roots are a three piece rock band from Surrey, UK . They have just released a new album, Left Fire, and are currently gigging extensively around the UK and fast gaining a reputation for their explosive live shows. Along with support from BBC radio and press, both in the UK and overseas, Arcane Roots are ones to watch for 2012.
¦ “…combine beautiful vocal melody and harmony with blistering guitar riffs to create the kind of mesmerising and tantalising experience that will make you want to weep and dance at the same time.” [Buckle-Up]
By Gareth O'Malley, 02 May 2013 (Editor rating: 8/10)
¦ Broadly speaking, Kingston upon Thames-based trio Arcane Roots are a post-hardcore band. They scoff in the face of such easy categorisation, though: 2010's mini-album Left Fire showed that the band weren't just going to fit into any conventional strain of music. While the post-hardcore scene in the UK in general has undergone a resurgence in recent years, Arcane Roots' ambitions are far greater than those of their contemporaries, certainly when it comes to their music. They have progressive tendencies that push them beyond the limits of genre; across 10 tracks, Blood & Chemistry explores post-hardcore, math-rock and post-rock, with a genuine pop song thrown in there for good measure. Their penchant for unpredictable song structures is set out immediately on opener 'Energy is Never Lost, Just Redirected', which starts off with delicate harmonies before an impressively heavy-sounding riff kicks the album off in earnest, drummer Daryl Atkins negotiating myriad time-signature changes and dynamic shifts with ease before a stunning chorus hits and reveals that underneath all the unpredictability, the band's sound is rooted in melodies that wouldn't sound out of place in stadia.
¦ There are times when they hint at one day rising to conquer those larger venues; 'Belief' is an immensely powerful track that is perhaps the most immediate on the album, the band cleaving to a more conventional song structure for the track, and Andrew Groves delivering an excellent vocal performance. In a similar way, 'Held Like Kites' is a predominantly acoustic track that shrinks the trio's gargantuan sound down to something impressively intimate, the mid-tempo track adding another string to their bow. They can certainly do delicate when the mood takes them (see also: the acoustic coda to 'Sacred Shapes'), but the band usually focus on packing as many twists and turns into their songs as possible, which means their longer efforts, such as lead single 'Slow', are fascinating, keeping the listener on tenterhooks as they wait to see what will happen next. The band sometimes go off on tangents and let their more progressive side out, such as on 'Triptych', a song which features technical riffing and an elongated exploration of the band's heavier side, but they make sure to bring the song full circle and drop it back into the chorus when least expected.
¦ There are a particular pair of songs on Blood & Chemistry which will bring the plaudits flooding in, and it's telling that they come from two different ends of the musical spectrum: 'Hell & High Water' displays a more textured side to the band, taking an already finely-layered sound to new levels of complexity, while epic closer 'You Keep Me Here' stretches to nine minutes and is essentially a song in two parts, the first containing arguably the finest example of melodic urgency on the record, and the second starting a slow build from an acoustic bridge into a euphoric finale that once again shows that the band can reach to the rafters if they so desire. The album stretches to almost an hour, but the constant changes of pace and dazzling inventiveness that drive it help it to fly by. Arcane Roots are an extremely talented band: this was hinted at by Left Fire three years ago, but it's now been confirmed by their debut album, which, instead of faltering under the weight of its own ambition, shows that the trio can fit in absolutely anywhere. ¦ Creative, melodic, and intensely passionate: Blood & Chemistry takes an unlikely mixture of elements and makes them work brilliantly.
By Katie Malcolmson
¦ Math rock/indie/prog pop trio Arcane Roots mix it up once again for their latest album Blood & Chemistry
¦ What kind of band are Arcane Roots? They just don’t seem to fit into one neat little box. This is perhaps why they have had such success touring with bands as diverse as power-pop punkers Twin Atlantic and folk rock band Dry The River. They aren’t particularly genre specific but, happily, this doesn’t equate to a watered down debut full-length album.
Hailing from Kingston-Upon-Thames, home to infamous punk and indie record shop Banquet Records and a solid music scene of heavyweight twiddly math pop bands (Tubelord, Tangled Hair, Colour, etc.), Arcane Roots have clearly adopted a similar angular mathy approach. However, there is a grandeur here that belongs in the early Biffy Clyro corner of experimental rock pop, which helps to separate Arcane Roots from the plethora of relatively unknown, technically-complex-but-lacking-catchy-songs math bands out there.
¦ In its heavier moments, the opening track of forthcoming album Blood and Chemistry, ‘Energy is Never Lost Just Redirected’, smacks of the more recent And So I Watch You From Afar sound. Still, there are hints of that Biffy magic: a complete fusion of unpredictability and balls-out pop. ‘Resolve’ follows on tidily, where a soaring and distinct-yet-comfortingly-familiar vocal contrasts with hardcore-influenced riffs (think recent Bring Me The Horizon meets My Vitriol).
¦ ‘Belief’ is a slow burner, with an epic pop chorus slung on top of a meaty chunk of distorted guitars and crashing drums. It’s a power ballad all right, but of a brand new breed. An outro with a beat down and a jabbing guitar riff ensures there is more than enough ‘rawk’ here to balance out (and toughen up) the indie pop sentiment. ‘Sacred Shapes’, a syncopated, skewed, time-signatured, ball buster (a pinch harmonic, no?) boasts a pop vocal that Justin Timberlake would be proud of (and we mean that in a good way). The track is the epitome of genre defying and a lesson in successfully fusing styles of popular music. It has a short-but-sweet acoustic ballad attached to the end, a pretty and pleasant surprise, bridging the song seamlessly to following track ‘Hell & High Water’.
¦ Debut single from the album, ‘Slow’, satisfyingly evolves from a riff-laden rock hit to a grand and beautiful soundscape awash with harmonies, moments of Mars Volta-esque chord progressions and remarkably dynamic vocals. This is not your average three-minute pop hit. The production across the album is also notable, with skilfully edited and layered guitars. ‘Second Breath’ also refuses to let up for a second – it relentlessly screams in your face while holding you tight by the collar, never losing grip and never losing power. A testosterone-fuelled, hardcore middle eight hook leading into a pretty and dialled-down picked guitar and gentle melody builds anticipation for a colossal and majestic outro that employs the perfect balance of cascading vocal melody and powerful screams. ‘Second Breath’ is possibly Blood & Chemistry’s finest moment.
¦ Closing track ‘You Keep Me Here’ is straight-up bittersweet indie rock, with stabbing guitars and an anthemic chorus. The song melts into a beautiful four-minute string-infused outro before breaking into a hook repetition that well and truly drives the whole album home.
¦ Blood and Chemistry is a perfect example of a band that has managed to achieve the balance of a complete sound that is fairly simple to pinpoint with the ability to fuse styles and create something magnificent. A difficult talent to hone, but Arcane Roots make it look – and sound - effortless. With unapologetic stadium rock-sized moments of glory, as well as complex math pop riffs, this truly is a rock album for the pop kids.
Reviewer: Shefali Srivastava (Editor rating: 8/10)
¦ Like a toddler on E-numbers who can’t decide what he wants to play with.
|Arcane Roots —•— Blood & Chemistry|