Review Summary: So let's build a house, though I don't know how.
Let's make it some place
that we'll call home
With Left Fire, Kingston band, Arcane Roots have created an album that is hard to classify. The album is sprinkled with bits of frantic post-hardcore, pop tinged alt. rock, and melodic hard rock. However, Left Fire clocks in at just under a half hour, giving the album a huge amount of variation in a relatively small amount of time. While one would think such an album would feel schizophrenic and unfocused, the band pulls it off with a remarkable amount of cohesiveness. Arcane Roots have not only created an excellently varied and unique album, but may have created one of 2011’s best so far.
The album begins with a dissonant sounding instrumental intro track and explodes right into In This Town of Such Weather. Complete with frantic guitars and high, wailing vocals, the track kicks off with a huge amount of energy that immediately demands your attention. A much more melodic chorus as well as screamed vocals later on perfectly round out the track as an excellent preview of the rest of the album. Right off the bat, it’s clear that the band has a knack for excellent songwriting and a great deal of ability on their individual instruments.
Left Fire’s first major highlight, You Are, tones down the frantic of the energy of the former track’s guitar assault, if only to make room for soaring vocals of the song’s fantastic chorus. Arcane Roots switches gears very effectively and the album’s mash up of genres sounds extremely natural. The three piece band has done a great job of defining their own identity at a stage where most bands would still be trying to sound like their more successful counterparts. The amount of confidence the band displays on their debut album is almost shocking.
The album’s vocal performance is outstanding. The amazing tone and range of Andrew Groves’ clean vocals are perfectly balanced with equally impressive screams as the album’s second half takes a much more aggressive turn. Million Dollar Question’s harsh vocals and wall of crashing guitars is an almost surprising departure from the first few tracks. Only interrupted by the 30-second long Habibty, the harsher sound continues into the first half of the closer, Long & Low. The album trails off with the repetition of: I’d die if you weren’t around to pick me up again.
until only the delicate vocal melody remains. Despite the fact that the album seems over far too quickly, it feels completed.
Left Fire may already be one of the year’s best albums in a year filled with highly anticipated follow ups from much more highly regarded bands. Arcane roots have created a unique listening experience by taking influence from post-hardcore, pop, and rock and mashing them together in their own way. Despite the album’s length, it offers a huge amount of variety and displays and extremely impressive level of talent, making Arcane Roots a band to watch in the future.