Review: A.R.C. Soundtracks – Archive: Volume One

A.R.C. Soundtracks - Archive- Volume OneArchive: Volume One is a dead end; the act of being carried out on an ellipsis, pushed from colour into drear and vacancy. If there is a mutual agenda among the meandering instruments, it’s to expel the depositories of life in the absence of purpose – the co-ordinates are set for death as life ceases to bear fruit, and I feel as though I’m hearing the solemn streams of consciousness of a band in terminal decay. Bluesy exhales of minor key evaporate on the dry earth, with guitar dripping out gently like drool leaking from an open, dehydrating mouth, and organs often curling up like a dying bug, or perhaps a funeral march for one hand.

Those stern announcements of tribal drum are particularly penetrative; sudden exclamations of volume whose empty reverberation paints the desert landscape like a photograph, while aligning the herd of organs and voices into a loosely shared sense of timing, stumbling forward together in a wasted pilgrimage. Spoken words tumble into the gaps, and they croak with either regret or the degradation of a fading walkie-talkie signal; clinging to the jagged edge of fond retrospect, roused by pleasant thought and heartbroken by how life has now been banished to memory. “And you’d step out on the lake, and you’d be just…you’d be beautiful…” The spoken fragment loops over and over, and A.R.C. Soundtracks clutch the past image as it slips, like molten gold, through the skeletal frame of their fingers.