Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog) (last update 5/23/2017)

August 30, 2012

The Arc Angels ~ Arc Angels (aka debut)

(No official website.)
Style: blues-rock
Label: Geffen
Year: 1992
Home: Texas (disbanded)

Members: Doyle Bramhall II, Charlie Sexton ~ guitar/vocals
Chris Layton ~ drums/b. vocals
Tommy Shannon ~ bass/b. vocals

Guest: Ian McLagan ~ keyboards

I've been listening to this album periodically since a friend gifted it to me some time ago. I had no idea what he was sending, but he felt sure it would hit home with me. He's right. He knows what I like. It's bluesy, yet hard rock; heavily melodic; great singing; soulful; sometimes restrained, yet sometimes wild; a bit of a classic feel. Okay, the fact that Little Steven produced is cool too, but doesn't mean much to me. But, there's a problem. I find myself stuck on the first couple tracks with a jaw dropped, unable to continue or find words to describe accurately what I'm hearing. Those songs are so good I want to hear them over & over ... forget about the fact that the whole album is like this. There's some moments that are a little too pop for my tastes, or a bit too radio friendly, but then, there's some great blues playing elsewhere, ranging from hardcore blues to more Whitesnake-esque rock blues, to knock away any low points. One of the things that struck me while first listening was how much the feeling was reminiscent of Stevie Ray Vaughan but with a rock edge. Of course, any blues player today is influenced by his amazing style, even if it is copped from Hendrix & Albert King. But, my guess was closer than I realized. AA is SRV's rhythm section that joined with two guitar playing disciples after his tragic death. This was the only album the AA did but is well worth checking out. Of course, we all look at SRV's playing, but as a bass player I know how hard his rhythm section is working & not necessarily getting credit for. While the frontmen here, Bramhall & Sexton, recall SRV's Texas style but don't duplicate or even aim to, trading off both vocal & guitar lines with a great sense of joviality that's all their own but keeping the memory of a friend internal. Bramhall's father even co-wrote some songs with SRV, so friend is not an understatement. Ian McLagen of the Faces & later the Rolling Sontes guests. This might seem a strange inclusion, but don't forget the blues roots of all those British Invasion bands, let alone McLagen is also an Austin resident now so he knows the local vibe. Bramhill's heroin addiction eventually led to the splitting of the band, but one wonders if it was ever really meant for more? It's almost fitting that it would be brief like it's source of inspiration. For those wondering, SRV/AA's rhythm section have remained together recording behind Buddy Guy, John Mayer, Kenny Wayne Shephard & others.

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