White Arrows – Dry Land Is Not A Myth
White Arrows are a five-piece from Los Angeles who concoct danceable, electronic infused guitar pop. Around two years ago, lead singer Mickey Church, birthed a slew of demos that were to shape the band’s first material recordings: the White Arrows EP. The EP of seven swirling psychedelic and electronic tracks garnered comparisons to the likes of Vampire Weekend and Foster the People. After opening for Weezer and touring alongside Cults, the Naked and Famous and more, the group took a break to come up with a full length’s worth of material. Take a leap into present day, and White Arrows have put forward the results: their debut album, Dry Land Is Not A Myth.
Not only does Church’s vocal style play as perhaps the band’s strongest identity marker, his back story as a blind child serves to take the psychedelic profiling of the group to another level. While his eyesight is now restored, Church apparently used swaths of smell, sound and colour in his ingestion of music as a child to influence his contemporary work. This crosses into the border-blurring realm of trying to pinpoint the White Arrows’ sound that jumps from guitar twang, psych-pop and lo-fi electronica.
Opener Roll Forever incorporates a swag of different elements. A buzzy, distorted riff racks up a wall of noise between electronic ticks and kicks before breaking away into warbling echoes from Church. The bursts of energy between slower croons and quicker, sharper phrases in the chorus are the more memorable moments and serve in making this tune quietly catchy.
Single Get Gone appears next. As one of the undoubtedly poppier songs on here, the bright, sparkling guitar arpeggios that precede a host of electronic claps and thuds form a melody somewhat reminiscent of Vampire Weekend’s Horchata. Upbeat, and easy to visualise as a summer-type anthem, Get Gone makes clever use of repetition and ornamentation. Later tracks like Little Birds, are full of electronic frills. Creaks, huffs and whirs of synth effects conjure up tropical moods and let many ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ fill out the body. Sail On delivers a similar fashion of bird replicating effects and sickly high synth jams, before Church’s voice rolls above harmonised backings. Meanwhile, Getting Lost keeps the tribal rhythms flowing, and incorporates organic jangles of guitar.
Dry Land Is Not A Myth is a record of interesting heights, but Church’s half falsetto, nasal croak can become grating. There are enough engaging rhythms on the front end of the record to make for a memorable listen, but White Arrows may have lost sight of their own sound in the process. That being said, the finest moments are where you least expect – in the opening of spacey closer Fireworks of the Sea, or the moody undercurrents of dancefloor filler Coming or Going. Previous fans will be pleased with this output, and for the newcomers who are privy to the movements of indie and electro pop, there is guaranteed enjoyment to be had.