Arcane Roots. A name that has been present in the finest up-and-coming British math/alternative scenes of the 2010’s. After 4 years, a member shuffle, continuous touring and an EP release – the trio have finally returned to give what may be some of their finest work to date in their 2nd full length release, Melancholia Hymns.
Spanning a strong 10-track duration, the pacing of the release really works perfectly in holding the listener into the music. From the slow atmospheric opening of ‘Before Me’, to the vibrant but subtly finalising closing track ‘Half The World’, Melancholia Hymns takes you on an aural journey – showcasing the bands travels into experimental sounds and processes within the recording process, and especially into the electronic. However, this doesn’t stray from Arcane Roots’ iconic heavy sounds, and there is no scarily serious change in their sound and song-writing – it could be argued the release of 2015’s Heaven and Earth EP felt like a transition between their debut LP Blood & Chemistry, and the material written in the new album.
Lead singles ‘Curtains’ and ‘Matter’ surprisingly blend together perfectly, and the tracks feel much stronger once sat side by side – although the same could be said of the entire album, similar to Manchester Orchestra’s release this year, the tracks really flow into each other and it becomes very easy to listen through in one go, again and again and again. When these singles were both first released, the well-received reaction they gave off a feeling they would undoubtedly be highlights of the album – however, ‘Indigo’ and ‘Solemn’ prove themselves as some of the strongest with exceptionally strong choruses and rhythms. These tracks both mould themselves in such a clever way that they cater for a complete change of tone by the end of the song (…one with a much heavier turn than the other), but still somehow remain consistent at the same time.
The entire album really is an accomplishment for the band – there is no singular song to fault whatsoever, and the electronic elements present throughout the record are truly outstanding. Some may have had doubts when frontman Andrew Groves first teased that he had been working with electronica elements in the recording of record in 2016 – but fans will be pleasantly surprised how well they really work with Arcane Roots’ already-distinctive sounds. Of course, there is no lack of heaviness to compliment the new synthy elements – as riff-filled tracks ‘Everything (All At Once)’ and ‘Off The Floor’ cater perfectly for the fans who originally fell in love with the trio’s earlier material.
With an extensive EU & UK tour planned right around the 15th September release, it will be intriguing to hear much of the album live – if ‘Curtains’ live is anything to go by, the tracks will sound massive, and hopefully the reception from crowds both in the UK & Europe will be too. As always, its only upward for the talented trio from here – and we can’t wait to see what will be in store for them after this release.