Arcana - As Bright As A Thousand Suns
Ambient, Darkwave Le Serpent Rouge meets Raspail. This is what Arcana's new album is a combination of; quite a pretty affair but this band have become victims of their own success. They have a very recognizable sound to them which, unfortunately, they don't really expand on all that much here. I very much enjoy what I am hearing but Bjargo's latest solo album eclipses As Bright as a Thousand Suns quite easily, this is music to lie back and drift through but for all the heavenly tapestries these folks create they don't lead anywhere. Rather, you're lulled into a calmly serene state of relaxation which sometimes makes it difficult to stay awake as this record plays out. The hypnotic quality of what is on here definitely has a potency to it but Arcana don't build upon this solid foundation instead opting to go the route of repetition. In the past, Arcana's work has been remarkable in that it develops over the course of each song but with these they begin and just go on and on before ending abruptly.

Comparisons to some of the more indulgent aspects of This Mortal Coil would not be far off the mark, although Bjargo and company don't indulge in covers. So much time is spent establishing the atmospheres of each song that there isn't a lot of it left to add the engaging detail or sparkling melodies this bunch are so known and beloved for. For as promising as the two non album tracks from their recent single were, I don't come away from hearing this thing with much that stands out to my ears. Where are those dynamic and resplendently majestic arrangements; for the first time in all the years of listening to them I'm not raising my eyebrows in awe at what they've created. Let me stress this again, As Bright as a Thousand Suns is no dud. This is not a record that could have been made by anyone else but it isn't up to the extremely high standards which they themselves have set. I don't find myself bored in any sense of the word by what's going on here, however, this release is a lukewarm one. We fans will be happy to embrace their latest... I don't think this will widen their appeal.

I guess the best analogy I could give would be of a swimmer treading water to preserve their stamina and stay above the waves: there's no forward motion and everything stays the same, it becomes a question of endurance. There's that element of mystery which their tracks always contain, be assured, it's just that we've heard them do this before. Quite a few times before. It may be time to set Arcana down for a while and resurrect Sophia, or at the very least, begin a new project that isn't so mired in expectations. When the music starts to develop a formula, this is one of the surest signs that you've done all you can with it for the time being and that the field should be left fallow in order to recover.

This reviewer remains a fan of Arcana, I'll always be happy to own their works but As Bright as a Thousand Suns won't ever be a favorite and difficult as it was for me to write this there was no other way to proceed. Sorry.
3
Brutal Resonance

Arcana - As Bright As A Thousand Suns

6.0
"Alright"
6.8
Electroracle
Spotify
Released 2012 by Cyclic Law Records
Le Serpent Rouge meets Raspail. This is what Arcana's new album is a combination of; quite a pretty affair but this band have become victims of their own success. They have a very recognizable sound to them which, unfortunately, they don't really expand on all that much here. I very much enjoy what I am hearing but Bjargo's latest solo album eclipses As Bright as a Thousand Suns quite easily, this is music to lie back and drift through but for all the heavenly tapestries these folks create they don't lead anywhere. Rather, you're lulled into a calmly serene state of relaxation which sometimes makes it difficult to stay awake as this record plays out. The hypnotic quality of what is on here definitely has a potency to it but Arcana don't build upon this solid foundation instead opting to go the route of repetition. In the past, Arcana's work has been remarkable in that it develops over the course of each song but with these they begin and just go on and on before ending abruptly.

Comparisons to some of the more indulgent aspects of This Mortal Coil would not be far off the mark, although Bjargo and company don't indulge in covers. So much time is spent establishing the atmospheres of each song that there isn't a lot of it left to add the engaging detail or sparkling melodies this bunch are so known and beloved for. For as promising as the two non album tracks from their recent single were, I don't come away from hearing this thing with much that stands out to my ears. Where are those dynamic and resplendently majestic arrangements; for the first time in all the years of listening to them I'm not raising my eyebrows in awe at what they've created. Let me stress this again, As Bright as a Thousand Suns is no dud. This is not a record that could have been made by anyone else but it isn't up to the extremely high standards which they themselves have set. I don't find myself bored in any sense of the word by what's going on here, however, this release is a lukewarm one. We fans will be happy to embrace their latest... I don't think this will widen their appeal.

I guess the best analogy I could give would be of a swimmer treading water to preserve their stamina and stay above the waves: there's no forward motion and everything stays the same, it becomes a question of endurance. There's that element of mystery which their tracks always contain, be assured, it's just that we've heard them do this before. Quite a few times before. It may be time to set Arcana down for a while and resurrect Sophia, or at the very least, begin a new project that isn't so mired in expectations. When the music starts to develop a formula, this is one of the surest signs that you've done all you can with it for the time being and that the field should be left fallow in order to recover.

This reviewer remains a fan of Arcana, I'll always be happy to own their works but As Bright as a Thousand Suns won't ever be a favorite and difficult as it was for me to write this there was no other way to proceed. Sorry.
May 14 2012

Peter Marks

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

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