White Arrows’ debut LP, Dry Land Is Not a Myth, is not an indoor record. It is the kind of record that requires a hot summer day, whether it be spent cruising down the highway or rocking some major elbow factory dance moves in the park. It is the kind of record that makes you want to throw your hands in the air and take a deep breath, the kind of record that, when you close your eyes, makes you see a kaleidoscope of swirling colors.
The L.A.-based quintet defines its sound as tropical crunk/electronic gospel, and while that is not likely to be a Grammy category any time soon, it certainly seems an apt description. They manage to take a very robotic and characteristically unnatural style of music and create something that sounds free and organic, a theme that is apparent even in the design of their album cover. This is especially true of “Sail On,” a track that literally has hoots and tweets floating around behind a buzzing bass beat. Tribal rhythms reminiscent of clacking coconuts make an appearance before a purely liquid guitar line trickles out, making easy work of linking the title to the track.
In the same organic vein, there is also a subtle earthy, Southern rock twang to Mickey Schiff’s voice. Tracks like “Golden” have an essence of the Kings Of Leon, if they had gone through a synth period, while stand-outs “I Can Go” and “Settle Down” both present a catchy guitar-driven sound that would be equally fitting for a huge festival and a backyard bonfire.
There is something effortlessly cool about White Arrows. Their tracks harbor an overwhelmingly positive vibe of escapism in the top end of chirping synths and upbeat, groovy choruses that creates a strange dichotomy with the edginess of the vocals and the heaviness of the bottom beats. The two halves emote very different things but are still part of the same, oddly cohesive, whole.
Not everything exemplifies that cohesion, however, most notably the opening track, “Roll Forever.” This song stands out for the wrong reasons, presenting a much colder and more detached side, missing the fluidity between and within the other tracks. The lyrics are choppy and very short (“You know/I know/You know/It’s something good”), while the electronic beats sound like the cast of STOMP are hammering on some trash cans, a stark difference to the lighthearted, twinkling beats of later tracks.
Capping out at a brief 34 minutes, Dry Land Is Not A Myth blows by in what feels like an instant, but it is so easily engrained into your memory, you’ll find yourself humming it all day.