Music has the ability to catapult us up into space. The stars pass our fragile bodies in a sea of illusion and vibrant colors. Vivid lights dance around our heads as the cosmic texture of space, give us contentment from the box the earth creates. The various planets take shelter from the unknown. The alien-like energy is scary, yet inviting. Seeing the moon in closer view foreshadows one’s inner vitality, as the energy that grows inside, gasping at the glimpse of such beauty, is stored away for a hopeful day. The black sky creates a sea of curiosity. Guiding the ship to a space music neverland is the galactic pop rock band Arc Iris, steering into multiple galaxies with their 2018 album, “Moon Saloon”.
Developed in Providence, Rhode Island, the pop rock band began their musical ascent in 2012, for the solo project of Jocie Adams (lead singer, guitar). The former member of “The Low Anthem” along with Zach Tenorio Miller (keyboard) and Ray Belli (drums), Arc Iris has had various band member changes, before settling on the dynamic trio.
Listen to Arc Iris Live at Union Chapel London Now!
With a heavier emphasis and professional songwriting and recording craft, pop rock originated in the 1960s as the alternative to beat and rock and roll. Surf Rock was one of few early influences on pop rock with original Doo Wap accents. Viewed as more commercial productivity and less authentic, pop rock would later heavily inspire a solid foundation for the 1990s-early 2000s wave of music. (This formed the sub-genre punk rock).
With her proficient clarinet skills, Jocie Adams studied composition at Brown University, graduating in 2008. Releasing her solo project, “Bed of Notions”, in 2011, the collaboration of Adam and Miller rocketed into 2012. Belli joined that following year. Stating she wanted more creative freedom, the lead songstress left “The Low Anthem” to further the Arc Iris projects. With similar musical texture to the Artic Monkeys, and writing styles like The Shins, Arc Iris released their debut self-titled album with Anti Records in 2014. With their spin on traditional music, the band supported various tours such as Nicole Atkins, St. Vincent and Tweedy. “Moon Saloon” hit the music galaxy to superb reviews, touring such cities such as San Francisco, Berlin, and Toronto.
There is an illusion that love creates when love takes over your mind. Peace creeps out of the crevasses of a hopeful future, in this chaotic world. When it comes to love, love can become a distraction as lust coats the power that love possesses. Fear can be birthed from love and its unpredictable nature. Forced into a junction of jargon disguised with pure intention, the track “Kaleidoscope” expresses this notion of questioned reality.
Give the worried man a rose, without the worried man who knows
The song was the single of the album. There is a sense-controlled chaos, as the single lingers on for 6 minutes. The track brings the listener along this ride that you never want to jump off of. There is a sadness and longing submerged within the cello as it makes its prominent debut, expanding its presence throughout the album.
Moon Saloon produces cosmic energy, painting a space of mysterious fairytale forest imagery. The trees are composed of trumpets and translucent sounds of organic instrumentation. “Lily” lyrically embodies the core essence of Bob Dylan energy. Adam’s silky voice shows sympathy and strength for devotion and synergy through the world of music. The storytelling nature the track produces sheds particles of musical theater as it foreshadows the tone for the rest of the album.
The sense of freedom and a non-poised reaction
I had the pleasure of seeing this sensational band live in San Francisco. As the glitter melted into their hair and skin, paired with gold jumpsuits and vibrant colorful accents, I fell into this psychedelic “Queen” atmosphere. The whimsical sounds of Moon Saloon filled the bar in full paint strokes of musical perfection. Before the show, the band walked around greeting the audience. This formed a communal aspect to the hour and a half set that they so thankfully graced us with that night. As my spirit animal of a friend, Sam, accompanied me for a night of magic and joy, Arc Iris delivered an unforgettable concert that will live in our musical geek hearts forever.
The album is a masterpiece. I am waiting in hope of a rock opera that incorporates this album into a mystical on-stage experience. This album is best played when the vibes of a room are comfortable and experimentation becomes a commonality. This album is best played in a free spirit environment as the music produces a sense of freedom and a non-poised reaction.
Given this scenario, I would grade the album a strong 8 ½ out of 10. As a fan of lyrics and lyrical intention, I found that the instrumentation drowned the powerful lyrics at times throughout the album. This notion allowed me to gravitate to only a few lyrics that I could articulate in a clear manner. Arc Iris continue to develop themselves musically, which is how a band should tackle every music endeavor.
This album will surely not ever disappoint.
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Photo: Shutterstock / edited by: Martina Advaney