There’s always been something special about Arcane Roots. Whereas most bands would be all too content with playing it safe, the Kingston band have frequently pushed the envelope in as many ways as they can, especially on 2013’s astounding full-length debut ‘Blood & Chemistry’.
As impressive as that album was, it did feel a bit much at times – their dizzying blend of prog, math-rock and alt-rock sometimes felt like they were trying to squeeze ten pounds of ideas into a five pound album. ‘Heaven & Earth’, then, acts as the natural response – it takes everything brilliant about Arcane Roots, tightens it up and portrays itself as a concise, ready-to-go EP.
On these five songs, there’s a lot more confidence on show. Rather than zipping between disparate ideas, each one is weaved together with the next for a much smoother sound. ‘If Nothing Breaks, Nothing Moves’ escalates from soaring melody to roaring tumult in a completely natural manner, while ‘When Did The Taste Leave Your Mouth’ is one of the finest songs this band have ever written, and it’s similarities to latter-day Biffy Clyro only serve as a hint to exactly where this band are going. It really is staggering how far they’ve come along, especially in the relatively short time in which they’ve done it.
The most impressive thing about ‘Heaven & Earth’ though, is the complete lack of compromise. The naysaying cries of “sellouts” won’t be ringing over these songs – there is no pandering to the mainstream crowds whatsoever, at least not deliberately. This is the band Arcane Roots should have always been – a top-drawer alt-rock band ready to call arenas their home. That may be a bit too far yet, but it’s still relatively early days. If they can carry on like this for a couple more albums though, there’s absolutely no reason why that shouldn’t be the end result.
‘Heaven & Earth’ EP by Arcane Roots is released on 16th October on Easy Life / Sony Red.
Words by Luke Nuttall (@nuttall_luke)