At first I was disappointed that we were getting an EP in place of what we thought was going to be a full length album. Then we were fed lead single – and lengthy-titled – ‘If Nothing Breaks, Nothing Moves’ at which point I felt a good bit more forgiving. An epic masterpiece in full Arcane Roots style which you can read about in more detail in our review.
Some of us had the pleasure of hearing ‘If Nothing Breaks, Nothing Moves’ and a select few of the new un-tested tracks when they hit the road before festival season this year. The Glasgow crowd packed into a very sweaty King Tuts was treated to the first two listed on the EP. The latter being another mouthful of a title – ‘When Did the Taste Leave Your Mouth’, a song that is maybe a little more upbeat and approachable than the signature formula we’re used to. What we heard that night gave us hope and raised the bar of expectation for the full release.
There is usually a divide in expectation and reality, but not here. Next up is ‘Leaving’ – a track that is as beautiful as it is pained with it’s driving and emotive vocal delivered by frontman Andrew Groves. A dramatic and harmonious song that ties the EP together while keeping the momentum moving along on its undulating journey.
‘Slow Dance’ turned out to be a bit of a grower. On first listen I wasn’t blown away but the more time I afforded it, the more I wanted to listen. The way the tempo is built slowly and when we eventually kick into an Iron Maiden-esque solo to bring in the breakdown we are witnessing absolute genius. It’s like they’ve managed to seamlessly stitch two separate songs together and create a blanket of energetic and pummeling sound in which you can wrap yourself and get lost in again and again.
Closing track ‘Vows and Ceremony’ is, for me, the weakest on the EP. It comes across as a bit of an afterthought by comparison to that which precedes it. In its own right it is a nice song to while away a short trip on the train but as one song accompanying four absolute belters it just seems a bit of an anti-climax but maybe that’s more to do with the height being reached by other tracks on the EP more than anything else.
So, for giving us an EP instead of a full album – Arcane Roots, I forgive you. When you can produce a handful of tracks that still draw you in for that one more listen, why bother going beyond that? The depth that this band can pull off with only three instruments is testament to a deep knowledge of the trade the ply. It’s not only depth of sound, you can feel the emotion emitting from every word of the stories painted in these songs. Songs which I have listened to a lot in the past few days. Songs that you too should get around to hearing as soon as you can.