Album Reviews

The Arcs

Yours, Dreamily

Artist:     The Arcs

Album:     Yours, Dreamily

Label:     Nonesuch Records

Release Date:     09/04/2015


Dan Auerbach, a.k.a. modern music’s King Midas, has wielded his golden touch once again to give us an album that sounds like it was concocted in a caramel-laced melting pot of Curtis Mayfield’s Superfly and vintage 1970s Bobby Womack. The Arcs as a whole may recall the Black Keys’ sound, but this is the music you’ll want to truly tighten up to.

Yours, Dreamily is a terrific resume boost for Auerbach. Put him in the creator’s chair and he knows how to make magic time and time again. After all, this is the same guy who helped Dr. John return to his swampland roots in debonair fashion, and turned Lana Del Rey into pop music’s Marilyn Monroe, right down to her boozy, sexy sound.

The Arcs are something special, but they may be fleeting, given that Auerbach tends to follow the music of his mind a la Jack White. But for now, sit back and savor the quintet’s debut. Laden with overall fuzzy sweetness, Auerbach and crew’s licks all but sweat out of the speakers. Think Bernard Herrmann’s “Taxi Driver” soundtrack yet with psychedelic guitar floating throughout for 46 minutes.

Not a single note is wasted here. Once the spoken word album opener “Once We Begin” proclaims, “Good morning, children, welcome to school,” it’s time to shut up and pay attention. “Outta My Mind” is spacey and trippy – an amalgam of Strawberry Alarm Clock’s “Incense and Peppermints” and Count Five’s “Psychotic Reaction.” Over 14 songs, Auerbach’s vocal blues describe relationship laments and broken-hearted moroseness – “The milk inside the fridge, it turned/The bridge between us, it burned” from “Everything You Do (You Do For You)” being one example.

“Cold Companion” recalls Womack’s “Woman’s Gotta Have It,” right down to its basic note structure. “Pistol Made of Bones” meanwhile, has Mayfield’s “Little Child Runnin’ Wild” written all over it. “Come and Go,” with its Deep Throat-worthy wails, recalls Travis Bickle’s brooding stare at a porno theater screen.

“Chains of Love,” meanwhile, interjects great female energy in the chorus. You almost wonder if the great Merry Clayton stopped by the studio to say hi and pump up the track. Start to finish, Yours, Dreamily is heaven laid down in a studio and boxed for the public. If the Keys had “gold on the ceiling;” then this is glorious gold on the moon.

-Ira Kantor

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