Decadence and Paranoids [CS; Faux-Pas]

NYC trio Arklight is one of those bands you didn’t know you needed until you already had them. And actually, it may even taken a little longer than that — the band’s bowlegged footing and shy delivery doesn’t exactly pull you by the hair. But after some time and about a billion listens (or something like that, I lost count), these serpentine songs start to slither their way through the twisting patterns of your brain matter, infiltrating and filling up all those little canyons and caves with wondrous music. None of this is meant as a dig at them, because to be honest, Decadence and Paranoids is easily one of my favorite pop records of the year so far. It’s just that the molecular makeup here — a lot of guitar/bass/drums/vocals arrangements with the occasional synth inflection — seems pretty straight forward at face-value, and the music is executed with the flair of a not-quite-beginner, definitely-not-prodigious group of players. So disguised as a middle of the road indie rock band, Arklight really sneaks up on you with its writing, which is quite interesting from a lyrical, structural, melodic and harmonic standpoint. It’s the total package, poetic words arranged in hypnotizing cycles, informing melodic paths to the heavens as minstrel guitar strums tether the listener to the ground, a style perfectly encapsulated on the beautiful A-side closer “A Rebellious Angel”. A lot of the record takes me back to my early days with Guided By Voices’ Bee Thousand, and as an overall aesthetic I think that works as a starting point for getting into their sound. But Arklight is also so much darker, brooding, has a bit of a Country twang, and is sort of goth about the way it handles its songs. A bummed-out bounty that’s not actually as much of a bummer as you might think it should be. Shoulders drooped, pale-skinned, a sad smirk haunting its face, Arklight paradoxically casts a bright beacon on the dim ballads of lamenting vampires.

Links: Faux-Pas


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