Wednesday, September 28, 2011

ARCS "So How's The Band?"

I have uninformed but firm suspicions of what growing up in suburban Surrey must be like. And these are substantiated by Arcs who debate “whether or not ’cricket-core’ is an acceptable musical genre” and enjoy “comparing and contrasting the merits of numerous fried chicken outlets in South Croydon”. At some point in their young lives though, the four-piece have had they horizons broadened. For their second (free to download) EP “So’s How’s The Band?” (out this week) speaks less of the ennui of the leafy county or the local KFC and more of the dark mischief of the metropolis.

Lead track ‘Mubu’ is a pneumatic electronic throb that careers along overlaid with snarling guitars, stuttering to a halt periodically for collective mock-stern sports-jock shouts of ‘Yes!’, ‘No!’ or ‘Maybe!’. It’s a bit krautrock, a bit Melvins, a bit silly; but just the right bits of each. Seemingly empty-headed in its juddering forcefulness, it’s actually cleverly addictive. No wonder the band are “rather chuffed” with it.

Arcs continue their sparing use of words in second track ‘Maicon In My Life’ which simply repeats ‘Maicon’ or occasionally expands it to the full four words of the title over five plus minutes. What starts off as a sweet hymn to friendship (possibly) with gently chiming Durutti Column guitar patterns becomes a second-half sparring match between said meandering guitar and motoring propulsive rock menace. Pointing back to the opening track, ‘Itinerary For Dinnerary’ alternates regal prog-rock processional, both bass-heavy and flouncy, with quieter background chants of empty clichés (“heads up, touch base, check in”). Pomp and circumstantial irony.

“So’s How’s The Band?” is a curiously irregular trio of songs that act dumber than they are: would be prog-metal-leaning stomps but with pop smarts and tunefulness a plenty. A deceptive spinning delivery then but with no mis-fields here and in ‘Mubu’ a clear over-the-boundary six runs.

Arcs So How’s The Band EP [FREE]

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