Label: Easy Life/Red Essential
Released: 15th September 2017
Arcane Roots are a band who don't do things by half measures. Celebrating ten years as a band in 2017, ‘Melancholia Hymns’ is only their second full-length record, touching down on planet earth no sooner than four years after their impressive debut, ‘Blood & Chemistry’.
Although this is a far less unhinged effort than its predecessor, the London trio have emerged from a cloud of mid-recording setbacks by taking everything they can do and running with it. Although oddly placed halfway through the record, the first cut that was aired, ‘Curtains’, serves as a bombastic statement of intent that they are no longer content with being a mid-tier technical rock band. Arcane Roots are heading all the way to the top, and with an album like this, nobody is in any position to stop them.
From the orchestral swell that ushers in titanic opener 'Before Me', to the grand space-rock finale of 'Half The World', this record is defined by its flourishes of eloquence. Submerging himself in a deeper pool of electronic and avant-garde influences, frontman and guitarist Andrew Groves not only spent a lot more time around the synths, but also learnt piano and violin to play on the record. It's yet another touch of class which pays off handsomely for the three-piece.
One of the countless wonderful things about ‘Melancholia Hymns’ is that all of its best elements come in pairs. The warmth that unexpectedly emits from the sprawling, synth-heavy ‘Indigo’ is rekindled in ‘Fireflies’. The onslaught of riffs that ferociously sees out ‘Arp’ strikes back in even more complex fashion on ‘Everything [All At Once]’. These delightful double servings are a perpetual reminder of Arcane Roots’ versatility; a facet of the band which is so rich and indulgent, but will always have you coming back again and again.
It's taken a full decade, but Arcane Roots have finally delivered on the goods and soared light years above their stratospheric ambitions. Shining with cosmic charm, ‘Melancholia Hymns’ declares that the time has come to rejoice at this mind-bendingly brilliant band. Danny Randon