My Arcadia - Stay EP
Record Label: None
Release Date: May 22nd, 2012
I don't know why Circa Survive is the only band so far that has successfully combined a post-rock sound with alternative/indie. Or at least they're the only band I've heard of that's done it. Is it just an unpopular mix or are there no bands good enough to take it on? It's not like you don't hear about a new indie rock band every day, and post-rock is growing in popularity as well. I mean, I love those two genres, and Circa Survive is great. There really do need to be more bands like them. Luckily for me, I came across the closest thing to them I've heard so far in New York's My Arcadia.
In theory, post-rock and alternative are the perfect genres to pair together. You get the ambience and atmosphere of guitars amped up with effect after effect delivered in a more accessible listen because of the guitar leads, equally beautiful vocals, and standard song structure. Sounds like Circa Survive, right? Well My Arcadia was smart enough to catch on, so now they're showing off their music in the same way, just more strict in their use of only ambient instrumentals. They also have the advantage of vocalist Jacqui Sandell, who acts as the major distinction between the sound My Arcadia has created and a typical post-rock band. With a range comparable to that of Hayley Williams, Sandell still chooses to keep the melodies tasteful, exploring her mid and low ranges as much, if not more, than her higher range. This allows the instrumental to shine stronger, blending smoothly with the vocals. The vocals do show themselves off at the end, though, with the closing track "See Me Through The Fire" featuring a melody that rises and rises and captures Sandell at her best, her voice breaking beautifully as it climbs and descends again.
Another great part about this EP is the balance it maintains. In the instrumental, taste is never sacrificed for musicianship, and musicianship is never sacrificed for taste. The guitars maintain a solid balance between catchy leads, tapping sections, and effect-laced chords. The drums follow the mood of the song, delivering a flood of cymbal crashes during the louder and heavier sections and softer rolling on the snare and toms when the song breaks down. Even the bass does its part with driving and pounding lines that can both add power and lighten the mood. There's just a clear precision in songwriting that can be seen covering every angle of the music. Every part seems to be written to perfectly complement everything else.
The only reason I could possibly think of for this EP not taking off yet is the genre. As perfect as it is to me, I guess it makes sense that die-hard post-rock fans aren't going to appreciate a genre they love being deprived of its excess of buildups, lack of vocals, and loose song structure. Also, there may be a few fans of alternative that find the light and spacey mood of the post-rock instrumental to be too boring or feel that the songs all blend into one. Honestly, though, none of those reasons really make sense once you listen. When you hear how well written the instrumental parts are and how well they work with the vocals, you'll see that this crossover of genres is not as much of an outrage as it may seem. I mean, Circa Survive was able to pull it off well, why wouldn't someone else be able to?
This is a great album, and a good review. But as most die hard Circa fans out there i don't think they should be compared to. No band will ever be able to re-create what Circa has, bottom line.
Well that's not necessarily what I mean. I agree with you completely, Circa are one of my favorite bands and this band doesn't come close. I only meant to compare the sound each band tried to make, as the overall idea is more or less the same for both of them.