Arc & Stones: Arc & Stones EP

Arc & Stones

B+

Above all else, the self-titled debut EP from Brooklyn, NY duo Arc & Stones is a solid rock record. It’s the kind of music your friends who hate “indie rock” spend their nights craving. These five tracks run a range of styles and emotions that recall a great alternative/hard rock band in their prime. These guys would have been huge in the late ’90s. Even now they should have no problem carving out a loyal fanbase.

Most directly, this EP represents a kind of mix of two “Black” bands – the Keys and the Crowes. They’ve got the heavy, unforgiving riffs of the former with the blues/soul infusion of the latter – or maybe it’s the other way around? Anyway, Arc & Stones fits handily into this rock lineage. There are also bursts of some more melodically manipulative bands like Oasis; consider the chord changes in the opening track, “Silence”, for instance – they’re a nice little curve ball that a more straight-ahead blues/rock group likely wouldn’t think of. That mix of guts and melody serves this EP really well.

To get back to the notion of “soul,” lead singer/rhythm guitarist/occasional keyboardist Dan Pellarin has it in spades. His honest, no-nonsense vocals, mixed with a very present production courtesy of Jeremy Griffith, hits listeners with its immediacy. Pellarin’s either one of the most emotional rock singers you’ll hear this year or a very good actor; either way, he knocks it out of the park on this record. Meanwhile, partner-in-crime and lead guitarist Ben Cramer contributes a great crunch that propels this record forward. On the record, the group’s rounded out by bassist Eddy Bayes and drummer Joe Doino, a rhythm section that truly earns the adjective “thunderous.”

The stand-out track here is placed right in the middle – the ballad “Let Me Down.” What begins as a stage for Pellarin’s plaintive vocals, guitar, and piano eventually crescendos, first treading into Kings of Leon-esque territory, then exploding at the end with a choir. Choirs are awesome. Additionally, with the front-and-center production of this record, you really feel all those voices. This is kind of a throwback track that, through its smart arrangement and excellent performance, sounds new.

Arc & Stones will officially be released on February 12, 2013. Fans of all kinds of rock, from hard to classic to alternative, ought to give this EP a listen. It’s short, it’s potent, and it’s full of talent. It’ll remind you of the best of 1996 even though it sounds very 2012.

tags: arc & stones

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