Arizona – Fame-Seeker and the Mono

Arizona – Fameseeker and the Mono
Self Release – 3.5 Stars

Their promo material may compare them to Grizzly Bear and Deerhoof, and while those are definitely apt comparisons, Brookyln’s Arizona come across more as a modern-day Crosby, Stills, and Nash with their squiggly guitars and stained glass harmonies and all the infectious positivism.  The five piece mine classic rock territory with the same ferocity of the aforementioned acts but sometimes struggle to combine their considerable influences into a completely unique voice.  This isn’t to say that Fameseeker and the Mono is a bad record; far from it.  It simply stays in the conventions of anti-conventional psych-folk-rock.  Weird arrangements?  Check.  Out-of-key guitar playing?  Check.  Pretty anyway?  Big check.
Perhaps the band simply doesn’t have the swagger of a group like Grizzly Bear or the reckless abandon of Deerhoof.  Not yet, at least.  But Fameseeker shows considerable potential.  Standout track “Life is Great” spreads lush three-part harmony over a leafy bed of tightly controlled guitar squalls and acoustic picking, the sunshine eking its way out of the corners, recalling Neil Young’s “Down by the River” if it were a song about hope and not, um, murder.  The song gallops along triumphantly, the three vocalists reminding their audience that “this will get better.”  It is here that the group exhibit flashes of experience; the vocalists sell the message perfectly and the band build beautifully until the song explodes into guitars and harmonies.
Elsewhere, songs twist and wrap themselves around their own structures, acoustic guitars try to keep up with their noisy electric cousins, and ska horn sections bounce over splashy cymbals and more fingerpicking.  In a certain sense, I suppose, Fameseeker is a record about beauty and noise trying to coexist peacefully, pooling their resources for the common good.
Fameseeker and the Mono find Arizona playing in the shadow’s of some of the most interesting bands around; it’s when they stick their heads into the sunlight that this band really excels.

One Response to “Arizona – Fame-Seeker and the Mono”
  1. Lucas Wilcox says:

    this is an amazing, absolutly visionary album.
    i cant wait to hear The Glowing Bird!

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