Introducing ‘Waterdog’, the new 8 track album from Arapacis. Digitally released, on Bullseye Records of Canada, Inc.
The Champ – Mellow keyboard intro, playing right into the similarly performed riffs and drum programmes, behind them. Sharp, yet loose feminine vocals add an edge and the riffs gather momentum. Violin section, well-placed, at that point, bringing a slight folky feel to the mood. A lot of cohesion in there and lots of enthusiastic riffage, cementing the melody. Keyboard outro, joining the closing riffs. A slight clash, at the end, but the typical Arapacis warmth and energy’s still audible.
Return Of The Light – Strong drum hits intro, with a strong riff section. More of a classic rock sense to it. Those pointed female vocals enter, lending melody to the track, reinforced by the Eastern tinged improv style riffs. Colourful fluidity in the keys, like an aural rainbow of sound. It’s a relaxed, mid-paced number, flowing along, pleasantly. Ending with much the same sound.
Pallor Rider – Opening on an emotional synth tone, this brings a potent poignancy, before then breaking down, into a more comfortable bladed vocal edge. A good central rhythm and a real palpable darkness to this one, with sadness peeking through, so physically. Breaking it up, with more aggressive vocal styles, carrying rawness, throughout. Ending on cutting vocal echoes.
Groovaquan – Strong riff intro, creating a slightly mysterious airiness. Softer vocals now, accompanied by ethereal sounds. Then, a blackened aspect creeps into the vocals, before returning to the lighter tones. A slight strained stretch and screech to the riffs, taking it into freer territory. Gliding, then, into a veil of melancholia, adding some shimmering cymbal hits, before reintroducing the riff reverb, followed by a tolling funeral bell. The dark and light vocals interplay, again, till the single cymbal ending.
Breach Of The Humanoids – Dark riffage opens, with cymbal action and an eerie atmosphere. Haunting vocals intro a ghostly essence, as the cymbals dominate the picture. Light and space breaks through, via glimpses of energised riffage, though still an uncertainty cloaks the track. Quite well-defined piano segments take it to the sudden end.
The Mold – Good strong riffs intro, continuing with that same mystery to the tones. Vocals, while soft, still carry a lot of power, in their delivery, conveying the subtleties of the mood well. Light cymbal touches and well spaced drums say a lot. Moving between moods, fairly rapidly and yet fluidly. Liking the psychedelic riff sections, just going where they will. Gothic vocal styles employed again, with impressively pitched screams. Closing on a building drum, cymbal and key section.
Back At The Gate – Crunchy bluesy intro, complete with tinkling piano keys and that great Southern blues twang beloved of the genre). Razor sharp vocals add that real blackened edge, once more. A real bestial sound to them, followed by a bit of riff wobble and more piano action. Building instrumental tension, then loosening its hold, in the freer, more improvisational riff sections. Combining blues twang, flamenco, electric and funk, in that rapid outro.
Elliptical Choice – Gentle, yet ominous riff tones intro. Playful moods intertwine here, with warning lyrics, before bold drumming folds into the mood. Cymbals playing a bigger part, the dread sensation’s well sustained. Several quite diverse sounds combine well, revealing different angles of perception. Riffs intensifying and fading out, here and there. Building a stronger, more dramatic organ section and it’s quite a downbeat mood, well reinforced by the darkness of the vocals. Plucky, sinister riff tones end.
Overall – As is traditional with Arapacis, there’s a significant improvisational and experimental strand featured within ‘Waterdog’. Certainly a darker production than earlier releases, it nevertheless, reveals light, in places. A typically complex album, combining various sounds, on the whole, it’s very much a moodier theme, covering many bases and once again, depicting the creativity and songcraft inherent within the band.
For fans of Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Space Parasites, Lawrence Wallace, Blackbird Sons, Heather Wasteland, Dire Straits.
Produced and Engineered by Jerry Fielden and Tyler Christiaens, at Bandlab.
Cover Art and Photography – James St Laurent.
Extra Photography – Kyle Miller and Michelle Macpherson.
Also featuring Gillan Macpherson-Briggs and Gwendolyne Krasnicki, on ‘The Champ’.