Initially formed as a rock musical octet, the Providence, RI-based act Arc Iris have gone through a series of lineup changes that have cemented the group’s current lineup — founding member Jocie Adams (vocals), formerly of The Low Anthem, with Tenor Miller (keyboards, samples) and Ray Belli (drums). And as a trio, 2014’s self-titled debut and 2016’s Moon Saloon, the Rhode Island-based trio quickly received national and attention for shapeshifting grooves that drew comparisons to Hiatus Kaiyote and others. Adding to a growing profile, the members of Arc Iris have opened for St. Vincent, Jeff Tweedy, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, and Juana Molina, and have played at major festivals like Bonnaroo, End of the Road and the Rolling Stone Weekender. However, just as the band thought they had beaten the incredibly long odds of the contemporary music industry, the gigs and opportunities dried up.
While most bands would have been embittered and called it a day, the members of Arc Iris decided to reinvent themselves, self-releasing their sophomore effort in the US and adopting an ardent DIY approach to promotion, booking and management. Interestingly, as a result of their DIY approach, the band landed a tour opening for Kimbra and Gene Ween, performed a complete re-imagination of Joni Mitchell‘s Blue at The Kennedy Center and have seen a growing (and deeply dedicated) international fanbase.
Slated for an October 12, 2018 release through Ba Da Bing Records, Arc Iris’ third full-length album Icon of Ego was recored at Providence’s Columbus Theater, which during the 1920s hosted silent movies and vaudeville, and the album reportedly finds the band crafting vividly expressionistic material that draws from prog rock, art rock and synth pop and meshing wildly disparate styles and elements. Interestingly, Icon of Ego‘s first single “$GNMS” is a completely reworking and re-imagining of “Money Gnomes,” off their debut — and while the original version possessed a folksy sort of looseness, the remake leans towards Peter Gabriel-era Genesis and The Yes Album-era Yes, Bjork and sci fi, as the song features thumping drumming, soaring strings, twinkling synths within a shifting and morphing song structure that reveals several different layers of novelty upon repeated listens. But along with that is a arena rock meets movie soundtrack meets theatrical bombast and swagger and it fits a band that only confidently owns its weirdness.
You can pre-order the album here: https://grapefruitrecordclub.com/products?keywords=arc+iris