Wednesday, May 11, 2016

EP Review: The Living Arrows - Set You Free

The three pieces (transcending the idea of “songs”) on The Living Arrows EP, Set You Free, resonate like the separate lines of a haiku: each is a world unto themselves but realizing a greater poetic dimensionality as a whole. On the first track, “Set You Free”, Alexandra Doumas’ warm voice, beauty laced with an unidentifiable melancholy, sings you into a poetic, almost mythic, narrative. There are elements of Joni Mitchell’s Court and Spark and also something entirely its own. Traesti Luther comes in on the refrain, the perfect tonal counterpoint to Alexandra. The next piece, “Every Day I Wake”, features the rich sincere vocals of Traesti singing “Every day I wake, I try to lose my mind” over Christian’s Casolary’s captivating drum track and Loren Shaumberg’s engaging knife-like guitar riffs. Their shared vocal dynamics, the lyrical metaphysics, unfold and unfold the song over a sweet jazz-folk musical landscape. The last track, “King, Spring and Stone”, could have easily been born out of the Child Ballads, the vocal interplay between Alexandra and Traesti evoking comparison to Anais Mitchell and Jefferson Hamer - the elegant and sparse instrumentation serves as a perfect frame. While there is obvious lyrical talent and accomplished musicianship, what is most engaging is a sense of the unexpected joy that emerges out of The Living Arrows’ music. Whistles, odd vocalizations, giggles, conversation and laughter are all essential elements. This music is the soundtrack for the beauty of waking up on a Summer’s morning, of not wanting the night’s dreams to fade; the prelude to a perfect day.

This review originally appeared in What's Up! Magazine.

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