Cursed Arrows - Sonic Union
What is relevant is the music. Now here is something which sounds familiar but clearly is not. Rooted in the same sort of garage rock which spawned, yes the White Stripes and others such as Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Cursed Arrows nevertheless manage to offer up something different. Although the music drives, it is not as necessarily dependent on the sort of driving rhythm as, say those naughty rebels riding motorcycles, nor is there the overreliance on a melodic riff which often characterises the White Stripes. What the Cursed Arrows do is take the same sort of stripped down sound which so often forms a cliché as a lazy way of describing music, but then put it back together in a manner which is neither lazy nor clichéd.
"The Destructor" is perhaps the classic exemplar of this. The melody is buried somewhat under distorted guitars and even more distorted vocals while the rhythm drives the song forward. The familiar elements are there, it is just that the Cursed Arrows put them together in a way you do not expected. That is not to say they subsume melodies altogether - "Romulus and Remus" clearly owes more to something like the Dirtbombs than to Titus Livius Patavinus (get that classical reference in there) but just when you were getting familiar with it, it slows down, cranks the echo up on the vocals and drifts into something which would not sound out of place with Hawkwind.
What the Cursed Arrows have managed to do is infuse a familiar sound with a new life and a distinctive edge to it. Vocal duties are shared, not evenly perhaps, but both Ryan and Jack have distinctive voices which suit different segments of the music well. Jack Stanley shines particularly on "Manic Death" with a double vocal track. In truth, she has the stronger voice as a comparison with the subsequent track, "Passenger Ghost" will demonstrate. But never let it be said that there was any drawback in the vocal department. What the Cursed Arrows have managed to do is serve up something which should appeal to a wide audience. I suspect that the songs sound better live and that is clearly the route the band should take in promoting their development. But above all, if you are looking for White Stripes clones, don't look here. This is all of its own.
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