giovedì 19 agosto 2010

Arco "Coming To Terms"

Mi ricordo bene cosa diceva Carlo Villa per descrivere gli Arco, una sua frase classica: pop noir. In effetti non è certo la voce grossa che predilige questo gruppo,anzi, i toni sono decisamente soffusi, morbidi, malinconici e fragili. Incantevole e vibrante, merita di non essere dimenticato. E poi con questo nome italiano, beh, meritano l'ascolto solo per questo. (2001 Pehr)

There will be few records released this year (or indeed any year) which capture fragility and tenderness without coming across as irritatingly fey. Arco's debut release is one such record, however. 'Speak' is a lovely, typically simple opener. Following after that, 'Alien''s guitars whine and threaten to rock out but manage to restrain themselves whereas on 'Flight' they chime deliciously like forgotten 80's innocents, The Lotus Eaters. 'Movie' begins like a Field Mice track, its deadpan lyrics betraying the dreamlike quality of the music ("Life's a bad movie but I'm way past caring. So I'll sit and watch with a beer and some friends"). There are several other fine moments on offer and only 'Babies' and 'Lullaby' mistake soppiness for a tune. With a bit more airplay, 'Coming To Terms' could seep into the consciousnes of the hardest hearts. (

Following a brace of well received EPs in 1998, ‘Longsighted’ and ‘Ending Up’, Arco, the trio based around vocalist and songwriter Chris Healey seemed to disappear from view. Until now. Following the recent release of their third EP ‘Driving At Night’ the band are about to release their debut album ‘Coming To Terms’.
Whilst admittedly somewhat on the short side, the 33 minutes of music that comprises ‘Coming To Terms’ is some of the most beautiful , fragile and ultimately euphoric music you’ll hear during this or indeed any year.
Although at times introspective and heartbreakingly sad, the catharsis undertaken by the album as a whole induces feelings of joy, hope and tranquillity.
Chris Healey’s whispered, delicate yet also robust vocals are excellent throughout, no more so than on the albums closer, the irresistible ‘Lullaby’.
Backed up by Nick Healey (Chris’ identical twin brother) on drums and Dave Milligan on bass and guitars, the playing is simple and uncomplicated as are the arrangements. In fact these gentle songs are so beguilingly intimate that they are rendered all the more indelible as a result.
Occasionally the arrangements are fleshed out with additional instrumentation such as on the wonderful ‘Accident’ where the trumpet brings to mind Eric Matthews’ ‘Fanfare’, or the mournful cello on the short but unforgettable lament ‘Movie’.
Anyone with more than a passing interest in the minimalist gentle pop of the likes of Low, Elliott Smith or East River Pipe should investigate this forthwith. Arco’s blend of melancholia and mournful pop music really is something special. Demanding little more than half an hour of your time ‘Coming To Terms’ is half an hour of quality time that you’ll be wanting to spend again and again. (Geraint Jones -

- Speak
- Alien
- Flight
- Driving at night
- Babies' eyes
- Accident
- Movie
- Grey
- Into blue
- All this world
- Lullaby


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