Underground Cities – Arcosanti – 93%

Arcosanti cover art
“Arcosanti” is Underground Cities follow-up album to their 2010 debut “The Dalliance Album.” The Arizona four piece formed in 2008 bring a more straight forward post-rock sound to the table. “Arcosanti” is 46 minutes over eight tracks and starts strong with “Early Birds”, a fun track with acentric drumming and beautifully layered guitar textures. “Made of Rust” is a short and sensual piano number that features a horn instrument in the distant background that helps moves the album along seamlessly to “1876”, a huge track that brings a monumental feel to the table with its build ups and changes in intensity. A large sound stage allows the excellent mixing and audio engineering found throughout the album to really shine.  “Stay Fast With the Ships” begins as a quiet piece chalked full of emotion that features lovely violin work amongst a twinkly backdrop of keyboards and slow distant cymbal crashes. Eventually the track works itself into a post-rock frenzy that I really feel should have lasted much longer.

“Arcosanti Bells” is fun track that is deeply layered and is oozing with charisma and really feels like the track that defines a band. “Talk Slow, Move Slow” is another track with an interlude vibe that helps set the stage for “Something New in All Sizes and Colors”, the longest track on the album at nine and a half minutes long. This track opens curiously and builds up while drums give marching orders as spiraling crescendo guitar layers amp up the sound levels. A clean guitar layer hangs around as long as it can until  distortion guitar layers completely shove it aside. Easily one of the biggest highlights on the album is when this track bursts at the seams as it peaks in all it’s post-rocking glory. Finally the album comes to a close with “It’s a Fine Life”, a great track that really sends the album off as a big closing number.

“Arcosanti” is a highly imaginative and creative release by a young band that have created an absolute powerhouse of an album. It’s not often a release comes along that is this sonically solid while still being just an outright enjoyable album. It brings with it an energetic playful vibe that refuses to let you get sucked into the music, forcing you to pay full attention to every tempo change and every new layer. While “The Dalliance Album” piqued my curiosity towards the band, “Arcosanti” has made me a fan for life. This is a must listen to album of 2012. 9-19-12

Available for $8 on bandcamp: http://undergroundcities.bandcamp.com/album/arcosanti

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