Looking for new music that keeps your ears satiated with surprise?
Search no further than Indie rock band Arc Iris’s new multi-textured “Moon Saloon” release.
Arc Iris first came to my attention via a tweet from Best New Bands. That tweet pointed to a review by music writer Tony Hardy. A brilliant writer, Hardy reviews music for both Best New Bands and Consequence of Sound . Intrigued with the originality of their music, a writeup for Portland Radio Project was called for.
Not your run of the mill band, Arc Iris excels in colorful imagery and innovative musical nuance. And lead singer Jocie Adams’ soprano vocals are smooth as glass.
The new album boasts complex, orchestral pop arrangements that craft a musical journey with a cinematic quality. Tracks are layered, colorful, expansive.
Unwind to the lighthearted mystique of “Kingdom Come” or get swept away by the exuberant “Paint with the Sun.”
In the Best New Bands interview, Adams shared that songs on the new album were written in the summer of 2014 at a songwriting retreat on an island in New Hampshire. “Moon Saloon” was released in June; its first single – “Kaleidoscope” – premiered on Stereogum.
It’s a moody, 6-minute track held together by a compelling chorus and arresting, showy touches of psychedelic synth; think Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker collaborating with Lorde. Have a listen:
About Arc Iris
An indie rock band from Providence, Rhode Island, Arc Iris formed in 2012 as a solo project of former Low Anthem member Jocie Adams.
The band broke musical ground with the release of their acclaimed self-titled debut in 2014. They quickly won over audiences in the US and Europe, supporting artists such as St. Vincent, Jeff Tweedy, and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. The group performed at the London Palladium and festivals including Bonnaroo, End of the Road and the Rolling Stone Weekender.
Members of Arc Iris are singer songwriter Adams, who plays a multitude of instruments including keyboards, clarinet, guitar, synth, trumpet and dulcimer; Zach Tenorio-Miller on keyboards, who worked on developing ideas and layering sounds for the album; and drummer Ray Belli. “Ray’s very musical and extremely patient,” Adams says. “He pays close attention to the story. It makes sense because he’s a writer who is also a terrific drummer.”
Interested in music at an early age, Adams studied classical composition and clarinet at Brown University. On the new release the three musicians are complemented by Max Johnson on bass; Mike Irwin on trumpet; Charlie Rose on pedal-steel guitar, banjo and trombone; and Martha Guenther on background vocals.
On the new release, title track “Moon Saloon” features Adams lovely melancholy vocals interplayed against sparse electric guitar. Turn to “Paint With the Sun” and get pulled in by its sweeping piano / pedal steel driven-intro. Choruses are compelling, the music calling to mind the talent of oft-admired 70s folk-rock-jazz songstress Joni Mitchell.
In Hardy’s interview with Adams she shared that she looks “very strongly towards Joni Mitchell for inspiration…I paid some tribute to her on Moon Saloon, whether it is heard or not.” We think Mitchell would approve.
Paint With the Sun
‘Saloon’ merits a hearty embrace
In an earlier interview with Boxx magazine two years ago, Adams had some amusing advice for women in music. “Make sure you work with other women! I think it’s really important. A lot of girls end up surrounding themselves exclusively with men and it will drive you crazy!”
While not your usual radio fare we think there’s plenty on “Moon Saloon” that merits a hearty embrace. Listen for the lush orchestration of “She Arose” and wonderful, bittersweet storytelling on “Lilly.”
Visit Arc Iris on their Facebook page where upcoming tour dates are posted.
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