Arc & Stones - Arc & Stones EP

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Arc & Stones is a four-piece band from Brooklyn, New York and its five-song EP borrows its bluesy edge from the Black Keys, yet the overall effect is much closer to a full-on rock sound. For instance, when vocalist Dan Pellarin voice gets all quiet during "Silence," it demands your attention the way Bono sometimes does with U2. Interestingly, this "Silence" begins with a guitar lick that sounds a whole lot like AC/DC's "For Those About To Rock," even though that Australian band is probably the last one you would likely think of while listing to Arc & Stones music, otherwise.

Jeremy Griffith, the producer of this EP, has a lot of experience with hard rock outfits, like Underoath and Norma Jean, so you wouldn't initially consider him to be the best qualified man for such a roots-inspired effort. Nevertheless, he was easily up to the task. For instance, when the grove gets revved up during "Say Goodbye," it brings to mind vintage Led Zeppelin, another band that famously put traditional American music forms into a more modern context.

With "Let Me Down," Arc & Stone nicely channel Kings of Leon with a pretty ballad. Vocalist Pellarin sings over acoustic guitars and piano as he complains, "Your love is just making me blind."

On "She's Mine," the band opens the track with some sweet slide guitar. This track has a likeable nasty streak running through it. In addition to its meaty guitar work, the song's groove has a The Faces, likely by way of The Black Crowes, shuffle groove that just won't quit. This time, Pellarin does some of his best Howlin Wolf vocal imitation.

During "Rise," Pellarin begins by singing, "Cut me off another piece of shame." The song's lyric appears to be commentary on the contemporary generation. He talks about how "We are faces in the water" and "Sons and daughters of tomorrow." Over a chugging rock groove, Pellarin seems to be speaking for a generation, seeking desperately after an identity.

Arc & Stones is a promising band. In a world where almost everything on the radio is flavored (spoiled?) by electronic elements, it's so refreshing to hear music that has some tangible respect for history. Better still, there is a sincere passion saturating the sounds Arc & Stones create. Instead of just trying to sound cool, Arc & Stones come off raw and heartfelt, which ends up making them extremely cool after all.

As good as these five songs are – and they're all quite good – radio ears might not hear enough hooks. Even great music needs to be memorable to get airplay during radio's current stingy era, and Arc & Stones may not have a song among this collection catchy enough to capture the airwave's imagination. Even so, I'd be happy to be proven wrong. Radio should be the place where the best music gets played. Nevertheless, the overwhelming presence of Nicki Minaj is living proof that that utopian ideal is far from being realized.

Commercial prospects aside, however, anyone that wants to hear an exciting new band will definitely not be let down by Arc & Stones.

Arc & Stones - Arc & Stones EP
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