This Arcs album was written by Jake Willis, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Nick Roseblade
‘Yours Dreamily’ is the debut album from The Arcs, and is fronted by The Black Keys singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach, and yours dreamily it certainly is. The album is resoundingly personal lyrically, and musically it is not as forceful as anything that Auerbach has released before, but rather lulls the recipient into a sense of ease with one track, then shakes whoever’s listening violently awake with another.
The album opens like a dystopian fairground; eerie and well out of the usual comfort zones, but the opportunities for fun lie beneath the bizarre, and that’s exactly what this album delivers.
The first full length song, ‘Outta My Mind’ is an explosive insight into Auberbach’s latest project and it has everything that is expected from a rock classic; a driving beat, catchy lyrics and heaving guitar riffs coming at you from all angles like big foamy matts in a Total Wipeout final. Opening with the line ‘Good morning children. Welcome to school’, it feels as though the listener is about to be taught something new, and just like school, it can either be seen as an adventure or a complete nightmare.
Often when lead singers start side projects, it becomes second nature to compare the new to the original; but The Arcs has aspects of originality. Tracks like ‘Pistol Made of Bones’, ‘Nature’s Child’ and ‘Come and Go’ make Auerbach’s temporary move away understandable. Rather than sticking to the boundaries of the recognized modern-blues that has become so well established by The Black Keys, it is clear that ‘Yours Dreamily’ Auerbach’s musical soul-search.
‘Pistol Made of Bones’ delves into old-western influences, whilst ‘Nature’s Child’ is soothingly soulful, with little electric implants that create a sound never to be found on any of The Black Key’s records. ‘Come and Go’ however is something completely unexpected, and that’s precisely what everybody wants from a side project. It’s funky, quirky and just a little bit sexy and you can almost feel the 70’s bursting through it.
There are times during this album however where the lyric’s feel slightly overdone. ‘Stay in my Corner’s’ ‘fight for me and I will fight for you’ are lyrics that have been repeated in various formations throughout musical history, as are the lyrics of ‘Chains of love’, but for an album that was recorded in two weeks, it is all in all an impressive attempt.
It is not an album that you want to skip from song to song to find the good ones, but neither is it an album that you want to play over and over again. Played in full, you find yourself drifting in and out but it is full of little interludes designed to prick your ears up. Just like a dream, after it’s over you cannot possibly remember every minute detail but you will find yourself going over and over trying to make sense of it all, and only really remembering the weird parts.
‘Yours Dreamily’ is out now via Nonesuch Records.