Dispelling Legends

So I had a pretty hectic day, and it wasn’t a good kind of hectic. I’m glad I wrote this last night, because it probably wouldn’t have happened otherwise. But, I promised you White Arrows, so here it is.

Album: Dry Land Is Not A Myth                                            Artist: White Arrows

WA

“So who exactly are the White Arrows?” might you ask. I found the White Arrows in my two excursions to see The NBHD. They were the opening act (both times).

You see, the thing about opening acts (and call me a terrible person if you must) is I tend to set my standards fairly low. The band or artist might not be exactly what you’re there to see. For example: last summer, I saw DMB in Bristow, VA, where the opening act was a band called Gogol Bordello. They were a gypsy rock band. I didn’t even know that was a genre at the time. Totally wicked I’ll admit, but nothing even close to Dave Matthews Band (but not exactly a strange choice for Dave if you know anything about the guy).

Now, White Arrows are no Gogol Bordello. There weren’t any pirate looking outfits or flowey blouses, but there was some pretty good music.

As far as background, I don’t know that much about the group. The White Arrows are a band originating in California; however (and, to be honest there isn’t much about the band to be found so I could be way off) lead singer Mickey Church originally started making music in New York.

Now for my house aficionados out there, this one might be something you’d enjoy. Of course, I know next to nothing about the genre, so maybe not. White Arrows have the “rock band basics” I’ve mentioned before — drums, guitars, bass — But they have a really psychedelic sound. I wouldn’t even call it techno. I’d just call it LSD inspired house/rock jams. All in all, not a bad sound even though it kinda seems like it might be.

Dry Land Is Not A Myth is a pretty good debut if you ask me. Metacritic says it received “generally favorable reviews,” so I guess I’m not the only one out there. It’s not exactly Grammy material (though what is, these days?), but the band manages to take you on sort of a — for lack of a better word — tropical journey with this album. Maybe its the red vinyl it came on (yes, red), or maybe its the super trippy album cover, but the White Arrows produce a very visual sound. Erin Lebar of CMJ wrote in her review that “[Dry Land Is Not A Myth] is the kind of record that…makes you see a kaleidoscope of swirling colors” (find the full review here), and she couldn’t be more accurate. I can’t really describe how the sound makes me feel — it’s something you need to experience for yourself.

From the first opening track to the last, Dry Land Is Not A Myth merges a very synthetic sound with elements reminiscent of the late 90s to create a very “organic” sound (a word used in more than one positive review). It’s a sound that doesn’t quite sound as manufactured as a lot of electronic music, but rather brought to you straight from the tropics of the Caribbean.

A lot can be said about Dry Land Is Not A Myth as whole; however, I find it appropriate not to mention the lyrics. They aren’t bad; they aren’t Lennon’s or McCartney’s either. But Dry Land Is Not A Myth is more about the overall sound, anyway. Instead of the music complementing the lyrics (as in the case of the Arctic Monkey’s AM), the lyrics complement the sound. It’s easy to forget that Mickey Church is even singing actual words through the speakers that are playing that red vinyl. It’s just nice to hear his voice.

Unfortunately, not all critics agree. Jon Falcone of Drowned In Sound tends to find the “noise” of the album to be quite unfortunate, but its easy to see how the White Arrows wouldn’t be for everyone. Like I said, for my house listeners out there, this is a good album. It’s something you can chill to; it’s something to dance to. It’s the best of both worlds.

I’d love to hear your own opinions on this album because it’s a little different than most of the stuff I’ve written about so far. Take a peek at the “honorable mentions” list and let me know what you think!! Until next week, keep listening.

Honorable Song Mentions: Roll Forever, Coming or Going, I Can Go, Settle Down, Fireworks of the Sea

Quick side note — The band is pretty cool. They sell their own merch, so we got to meet them. They totally offered us tickets to see them in Atlanta which was awesome because I’d LOVE to see them again, but we had to decline unfortunately. Yeah, we’re idiots.

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