The debut EP from New York based band Arc & Stones doesn’t accomplish anything revolutionary, nor is it an extraordinary album. But each of the five tracks has just enough diversity, and just enough energy, to get stuck in your head. There is a catchy element to their music, and they use a combination of genres to flesh out what would otherwise be boring, rock songs. The band meshes rock, folk and soulful sounds to make five honest songs that sound kind of generic but have depth to them.
Opening track “Silence” spins the 90’s Black Crowes-inspired sound on its head by subtly building up sound and getting a little heavier than it seems. “Say Goodbye” greatly resembles some of the more radio-friendly 90’s rock bands like Collective Soul, building up from an acoustic rhythm to a big, fuzzy guitar ending. “Let Me Down” follows a piano and acoustic rhythm similar to the one that starts off “Say Goodbye,” largely staying in it before a bigger, group chorus at the end. “She’s Mine” is a louder track, bolstered by a bluesy guitar rhythm that adds some needed speed to the EP. Final track “Rise” is also centered an electric guitar rhythm, a catchier one. Every track is reminiscent of the folksy mid-90’s radio rock.
The band is consisted of Ben Cramer on lead guitar, Dan Pellarin on vocals and rhythm guitar, Joey Doino on drums and Eddy Bays on bass. Musically, they center more on a collective and friendly sound, and the unfortunate downside is that there isn’t much to speak of originality wise. The band does blend genres successfully, adding some emotion and soul to their more subdued moments, and it is more fine-tuned than most other bands of this nature. Pellarin’s lyrics, as evidenced by the song titles, aren’t anything that we haven’t heard already, but his voice is strong. Pellarin’s voice is soothing and honest, and he really adds the soul to the album, a needed diversity.
“Arc & Stones” isn’t overly memorable, but it is a promising debut release. The band might find their niche and gain a following. There are enough elements of rock, blues, folk and soul to keep the songs in your head for at least a little while afterwards. Part honest displays, part 90’s throwback, “Arc & Stones” might be the beginnings of a really good band.
If you like this, try: “Pyyramids” by Pyyramids (2013). Another decent debut from a band that shows a lot of potential.
-By Andrew McNally