Sunday 14 September 2014

With Our Arms to the Sun - A Far Away Wonder (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 23/9/2014
Label: Self Release

‘A Far Away Wonder’ CD track listing:

8). Die for You


With Our Arms to the Sun is a rock band formed in the desert of Arizona. Their live shows are unique and emotional, bringing back the energy of the punk rock and grunge bands of the past who played to basements and art galleries packed full of kids while intersecting a unique modern psychedelic attribute that has peaked many peoples ears since their inception just two years ago in 2012.

The music is cinematic and expressive with elements of conceptual album rock and modern electronics. The band has earned a small cult following on the internet for their unique progressive music, spiritual and philosophical insights, and their ability to make people feel. The band cites movie scores and video game music as an influence and has licensed their music to various independent films and video game companies.
Being an independent band, With Our Arms to the Sun has made some big waves releasing 3 albums in under two years, touring on their own, as well as selling music in several countries internationally.  Founded by three brothers, Joseph Breckenridge Jr, Josh Breckenridge, and Joseph Leary have a long 15+ year history of being creative together.

The new album "A Far Away Wonder" features collaborations with film composer Jonathan Levi Shanes on Synth as well as drums that were engineered by Aaron Harris of the bands ISIS and Palms. The CD gives a glimpse into the heavier progressive yet cinematic direction the band is headed in.

The Band:

Josh Breckenridge - Guitars, noise, vocals
Joseph Leary - Guitars, Programming
Joseph Breckenridge - Bass

Jonathan Levi Shanes - Synth


‘A Far Away Wonder’ is a strong argument for musical intellect and deft precision over full-bore, full-blooded savagery. It’s not about how these songs are played; rather it’s how they are written that matters. Everything has an underlying purpose regarding the bigger picture; painted on a canvas as absorbing as it is awe-inspiring.

Nothing here is driven by flamboyancy or ego. Simply let it whisk you away, sparking a kaleidoscope of visuals that float, dance and sway in unison with the music.    

Aaron Harris of ISIS takes credit for engineering the zero-gravity drums that work wonders in leading you into deep the consciousness where this album is best listened to. Together with Harris and film composer Jonathan Levi Shanes, the Arizona band have created something quite brilliant.

Primarily instrumental, they have garnished comparisons to the likes of King Crimson and ISIS in the past. Those influences are indeed prevalent, but they are buried deep beneath the forefront of this music; this is a band that strive for originality with their sound and found it in abundance.

They truly shine on the Levi Shanes collaborations. ‘Cosmonaut’ unveils apocalyptic, intergalactic visions in your mind, of chaos and meltdown in the contradictory airlessness of space. ‘Great Black Divide’ meanwhile drags you into the deepest, darkest and most unknown of waters, where unidentified, unimaginable creatures have full sway: The gentle tinker of synths that underpin the whole song giving you the feeling of wading in a world of water. ‘Syndicate’ flickers between dagger blade, guitar driven passages and synthesized acid trips, with almost tribal like vocals weaving in and out of the instrumentation, taking you to the kind of lands Hawkwind first discovered decades ago.

‘Where Silence Dwells’ starts with a sound not too dissimilar to modern Iron Maiden as a slow, building chord progression, with the bass predominant in the mix, foreshadows bigger, more powerful things to come. When those moments arrive they are some of the heaviest, most staggering on the album.     

Musically, simplistic but resoundingly clever repetitive phrases are utilized throughout, while the surrounding instrumentation is given greater detail as the passage progresses. It is this repetitiveness that lures you into such vividly colourful dream worlds, while the cinematic, blockbuster tones that revolve around it provide the story, the drama and the plot twist.

This is a tale I’d happily relive again and again.

Words: Phil Weller


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