You can call me HAL
White Arrows isn’t your run-of-the-mill indie pop band. The Los Angeles-based quintet, composed of two brothers (and one half-brother pair) formed in 2008 when vocalist and guitarist Mickey Church graduated from NYU with a degree in—wait for it—ritualistic shamanism. After releasing a self-titled EP, the band releases its first full studio album Dry Land is Not a Myth this month. Aside from having quite the backstory, the band is also unique in its genre-defying sound. White Arrows’ music has been described, alternately, as “psychotropical” and “Paul Simon in space”—and somehow, in listening to Dry Land, those descriptions don’t sound all that far-fetched.
Opening with jagged synths and rough, rocking guitar riffs, “Roll Forever” quickly drops the tough façade and subsides into a hazy soundscape with softer, echoing vocals. And just as quickly, White Arrows launch into the danceable summer anthem “Get Gone,” an upbeat romp replete with rich layers of guitar and synth. The musical variation continues with toy pianos and xylophones that give the aptly-titled “Golden” a joyful, exuberant sun-soaked feel. And “Little Birds” has big, open percussion, funky rhythm and dancey synths that show why the band has earned comparisons to The Naked and Famous. World beats and an electro sound surface as well on “Sail On” and “Getting Lost.”
But for all its originality, Dry Land has some duller moments. The Strokes-esque tune “I Can Go” is unremarkable, while the slick dance number “Coming or Going” is at once catchy and utterly predictable. Despite these very minor setbacks, Dry Land is Not a Myth is a successful debut album. For such a young band, White Arrows show a lot of promise (and just enough weirdness) to keep things interesting.