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Arc Iris: Moon Saloon *

Track List

>Kingdom Come
>Paint With the Sun
>She Arose
>Saturation Brain
>Rainy Days
>Moon Saloon

Album Notes

Art-pop power trio Arc Iris show little regard for painting within the lines on their ambitious sophomore LP, Moon Saloon. The lingering tones of Americana that marked their impressive 2014 debut have all but vanished in the wash of celestial dream-folk and intricately fashioned prog-pop that bandleader Jocie Adams and her cohorts Zach Tenorio Miller and Ray Belli have cooked up. Fortunately, for the massive amount of ideas crammed into Moon Saloon, it remains a widely accessible and shockingly fun listen. With her shapeshifting compositions and breathy vibrato-laden vocals, Adams most resembles a mid-'70s-era Joni Mitchell, especially on tracks like "Paint with the Sun" and "Pretending," which pair a playful West Coast-inspired idealism with the warped experimentalism of the present-day indie explorer/arranger. That Arc Iris hail from New England rather than Los Angeles makes them an even odder bird. Nowhere is their adventurous spirit more apparent than on the masterful "She Arose," a beguiling waltz with an engaging melody whose complex horn and string arrangement slowly transmogrify into a thrilling space odyssey of psych-beat box and epic chamber chorale. Now that they have your attention, Adams and company lighten things up, first with the airy tale of "Lilly," then with "Johnnie," a kooky light rocker with the whimsical breeziness of an early Maria Muldaur tune. Similarly, "Rainy Days" pits dynamic jazz fusion with orchestrated piano pop, further extending the band's range. If Adams' touchstones aren't in line with the late-'80s/early-'90s-obsessed indie culture of 2016, it doesn't seem to bother her. Her musical eclecticism gives Arc Iris a leg up as they vanquish trendiness in favor of free-flowing exploration. ~ Timothy Monger


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