Release Date: Jun 19, 2012
Record label: Turnout Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
White Arrows' debut full-length, Dry Land Is Not a Myth, takes cues from both dance floors and drum circles. Aided by RAC's production (Penguin Prison), the Los Angeles-based five-piece's rock palette is all about shifting filters of psychedelic sounds. The quintet hits pop and calypso flavors along the way, finding itself slotted alongside Vampire Weekend and Animal Collective.
The initial burst of attention for White Arrows leading up to its 2012 debut, Dry Land Is Not a Myth, certainly couldn't have hurt the band, if only because the appetite in the U.S. indie sphere for dance-friendly and vocally soaring work was so strong. What's a little odd to realize is how much singer Mickey Church recalls someone like Richard Ashcroft rather than, say, near contemporaries Active Child.
WHITE ARROWS play the Drake Underground on Sunday (July 8). See listing. Rating: NNN White Arrows' debut LP comes with a back story a bit too good to be true. Mickey Church, blind until age 11, was encouraged by his father, a student of African percussion, to pick up an instrument and start a band with his half-brother Henry.
Los Angeles’s White Arrows is a band joyfully stuck at a musical crossroads, slaving away to combine elements of electronica, pop, garage, tribal rhythms, and beyond into one danceable concoction. When their resulting debut LP, Dry Land Is Not a Myth, distills those influences successfully, it yields cuts like “Coming or Going”, “I Can Go”, and “Settle Down”. The latter is powered by a glitch-y synth line that’s so alluring, it’s bound to unleash a pandemic of disco fever.
There really is nothing of great merit to this album - it really feels like the first collection of songs that I’d be happy to assign a ‘landfill’ label to since the heyday of landfill indie (bring back Joelean, please). A Californian five-piece, White Arrows can't write good songs. ‘Roll Forever’ starts promisingly enough with a nice electro drum beat, but as soon as a stack of abrasive guitar notes screech in over the top it becomes unpleasant, then as the song seems to dissipate into a background of a verse it all becomes garbled and unfocussed.
Roky, we’re not in Austin anymore. With the changing social context of mind-altering substances in general — from entheogen to psychedelic to psychotropic — so too have we witnessed the deracination of psychedelia as a musical concept, replacing the esoteric and free-spirited with the merely weird. But, as a TMT comrade recently wrote, the weirdness itself is more of an “aesthetic sensibility rather than a musical one.” In dance punk 4/4, L.A.’s White Arrows chant the same mantra, albeit with a more engaging press release than most of their peers.
White Arrows’ debut LP, Dry Land Is Not a Myth, is not an indoor record. It is the kind of record that requires a hot summer day, whether it be spent cruising down the highway or rocking some major elbow factory dance moves in the park. It is the kind of record that makes you want to throw your hands in the air and take a deep breath, the kind of record that, when you close your eyes, makes you see a kaleidoscope of swirling colors.The L.A.-based quintet defines its sound as tropical crunk/electronic gospel, and while that is not likely to be a Grammy category any time soon, it certainly seems an apt description.
Singer / guitarist Mickey Church of White Arrows was born blind, but after years of eye exercises and sticking to treatment, he gained the ability of sight. They are a Californian indie band who, shockingly, aren’t simply a surf pop band. But perhaps Church’s receipt of the gift of sight, something we take for granted, led to his band’s sunny, joyful sound?The press release for their debut album ‘Dry Land Is Not A Myth’ says to “call it psychotropical pop, something both busy and breezy.” This description is particularly apt, as there is a definite pop aspect to their sound, combining energetic rhythmic beats with a hooky, tropical sensibility that will remind you a bit of Friendly Fires and Cut Copy.