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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Aarktica -- Matchless Years

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6/10

Before recording Matchless Years, Aarktica, aka Jon DeRosa, moved from New York to Los Angeles. The change of locales is apparent in the music, and doesn't exactly favor DeRosa's sound. Apparently, by the lyrics, the women of California don't favor DeRosa either. The first track, "Seventy Jane" and the entirety of the album, eschews DeRosa's trademark guitar drones. DeRosa goes for an 80's almost synth-pop feel on "Jane," and it actually works quite well, building up quite a bit of energy despite the fact that the closing refrain is "Oh Ms. Jane, for people like us, there are no happy endings...only endings." It's melodramatic for sure, but it also sure is fun to listen to, again and again:

Unfortunately, the next track is what I like to call a pretty snoozer, again employing none of DeRosa's guitar tricks, just a slowly repeated riff, some strings, and DeRosa and a female vocalist's tired singing. Fortunately, things pick up again immediately with undeniably the most guitar rocking song DeRosa has penned, "Arms." His romantic feelings here have gone from disappointed to vitriolic as he spews, "How your arms were ropes, and I'd wake up with them around my neck/build me up just to break me back down/no arms can break my fall." Over the top again, but it's pretty tough not to get caught up in the emotion of the song. Unfortunately he again follows a high point with an uninteresting five-minute track, picking back up with "Happiness Boys," which is weird, still angry, but almost as enjoyable as the other two standouts. Again, the ice of New York seems to have suited DeRosa far better than the L.A. social scene. He tries to make the best of things on the title track, singing wistfully of his old state, before "Rooftop Films" gently closes the album. Thankfully, he gets back to New York and his beautiful droning music soon.

2007 Darla Distribution
1. Seventy Jane 5:08
2. I Name You Sleep 5:06
3. Intro to Arms 0:58
4. Arms 4:21
5. Summer Tabla Dub 6:09
6. Happiness Boys 3:52
7. Matchless 6:37
8. Rooftop Films 7:17

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