White Arrows – Dry Land Is Not A Myth
Released: 19/06/2012 on Votiv
White Arrows seem to inspire ever more outlandish genre definitions. One that crops up frequently is Psychotropical Pop. The quintet hailing from LA employ the usual assortment of instruments; 2 Guitars, 1 bass, 1 drum kit, 1 keyboard; but what they create with this fairly standard kit list is somehow quite unlike anything else out there at the moment. One thing clearly setting them apart is singer Mickey Church’s distinctive vocals, showcased beautifully on this debut release. Produced by the creative geniuses at RAC, the band have definitely benefited from their influence, putting out a much stronger record than their 2011 self titled EP.
Opener 'Roll Forever' leads you on a delightful trip, one minute you're floating euphorically in a dreamlike state being lulled by Church’s soothing vocals, the next you’ve been administered with a huge shot of adrenaline in the form of a more insistent, urgent refrain; more synths, more distortion. Delightful. 'Coming or Going' is an album highlight - uptempo and fun, it's sure to have you hitting repeat and singing along. 'I Can Go' is an addictive, guitar driven belter that progresses to MGMT style psychedelia.
For me the album loses a little momentum around about this point. Next track 'Golden' feels anything but, in fact it's more of a dull silver. It's hard to define exactly why but the track just feels a little laden and never seems to get going and the repetitive synths are likely to induce borderline psychosis before it's through. 'Little Birds' is definitely a grower, but despite it's catchy rhythm it goes on a little too long and never really progresses anywhere.
If the last 3 tracks bored you half to death don't turn off just yet, a reprieve is just around the corner in the shape of 'Getting Lost'. God only knows how Church manages to elevate his voice to such uncharted heights but manage it he does, wavering around the upper stratosphere of octaves normally reserved for smashing wine glasses. The whimsical opening of the song pulls you along with it, indeed inviting you to get lost in it. And this track definitely goes somewhere, somewhere heavier and more guitar driven.
'Settle Down' is by far one of the strongest tracks, with a more bluesy feel the bass line demands your attention immediately and is predominant throughout, even once those pesky synths kick in again, though this time complementing rather than overwhelming the song. The rhythm section deserve a medal for this one. Final track 'Fireworks of the Sea' is White Arrows at their sensory best, conjuring an aquatic ambience everything melds beautifully on this track.
Overall it's a promising first release; a summery, fun, playful collection of songs that will have you up and bopping about. If the midsection leaves you a little underwhelmed it's not a disaster, it’ll give you a chance to catch your breath and recoup before dancing along with the remainder of the album. You’ll probably wish it lasted longer than its 33 minutes.
Turn On: Coming Or Going, I Can Go, Getting Lost, Settle Down
Turn Off: Golden, Little Birds, Sail On