The Black Keys were really excited to come back to the studio as soon as possible but the shoulder injury of their drummer, Patrick Carney, obviously paused their burning aspiration. The Arcs, a new band by Dan Aurbach, formed of almost all Black Keys members or, at least, associates, is probably a result of spare time Dan suddenly had because of Dan’s mentioned shoulder injury.
What did we get from The Arcs? Generally, it is a twin brother of Turn Blue, empty of any kind of surprises or excitement. On Turn Blue, it was obvious Dan wanted to orient towards massive, psychedelic slow tempo songs, which is exactly what was his focus this time. If this album was under The Black Keys label, it would sound like a natural continuation.
The problem I had with this album is that the songs are too pre-meditative, they have psychedelic spin and it sounds like Dan’s crew didn’t want to get too far from the familiar patterns. There are some good things, for sure, but listening to it as a whole, everything falls into a never-ending monotony (the album has 14 songs). After the circus intro, album starts with one of the best tunes from the whole album, Outta my mind, which sounds like it has fallen from the train called Turn Blue. It leads to few songs that were clearly written by copy\paste method. Very similar, very generic. Of course, the lyrics are different but If you don’t pay attention, you won’t even notice the difference there.
Stay In My Corner is a brilliant track, mostly because it is unusual and different from anything Black Keys have ever done. It is soul-driven with elements of retro rock. No surprise why this was the first song they decided to leaked since it’s the best possible hook.
At the end of Yours, Dreamily, songs move in a different direction. And it was a wrong turn. The band has tried to use many synthetic noises in order to create something original. Spoiler alert: they have failed.
Overall, this album is a so-so. First two promotional singles were the best The Arcs had to offer and that is never good for a release. No matter how under impressed I was, I gotta give kudos to Dan for challenging himself and stepping out of his comfort zone.