Arc Waves – Arc Waves (EP)

Arc Waves - Arc Waves (EP)

Arc Waves – Arc Waves (EP)

Arc Waves is a puzzler. I’m enthusiastic about it, but this project band misfires.

My ear is drawn toward the classically styled vocals of Elaine Lachica. And how this EP works is the vanilla-canvas rhythm section and heavy, heavy reverb on the guitar create space in which the vocal paints light and shadow, clouds and ash.

Arc Waves is post-punk with a vocal twist. The band’s promo materials describe it as harkening the heyday of 4AD and Factory Records, “swooning dream pop mixed with a dash of punk.” The music indeed draws from indie, classical, post-punk, and electronic.

Whatever this sound is, it’s thriving in the band’s single, “Half Dome.” The vocal on this track is pitch-perfect and full of hooks that blend the simplicity of 90’s indie rock with the clarity and focus of a concert soprano. Meanwhile, the rhythm section drives, and sometimes pushes, with the guitar first disappearing into the voice and then stretching out when the vocal pulls back.

I also like “Look Straight At Me.” Caution: the beat on this track is Casio-cheaptronic, which may play as either endearing or dreadful. But, for me, the song works because the chorus rhythm breaks down and back while the vocal blooms. Very nicely done, for example, right at the one-minute mark.

But, even with “Look Straight At Me,” I wonder, What is the band’s vision? One problem is that both the guitar and vocal extend all the notes. The music offers no contrasts. For instance, contrast sharp, staccato guitar parts with drawn-out vocals, or vice versa. A similar problem is that the vocal and the percussion instruments push around a lot of air. Everything floats and soars, and the bass and drums together and the guitar and vocal pass in the night, isolated in their comfort zones. On the two remaining tracks, “Cascades” and “Galaxies”, even Lachica sounds uninspired. Although, I do like how the guitar treads nasty on “Cascades.”

On Arc Waves the EP, we’re given one fantastic song, one good song, one okay song, and one dud. That said, do listen to “Half Dome.”

Arc Waves online: