For little overseas enjoyment we look to Perth Alternative rocker Arkayan. This currently unsigned five piece hails from Perth, Australia. Molded in the likes of Porcupine Tree, Thrice, and The Cooper Temple -in 2010, amidst extensive live touring they released their debut album "Away from the World."
Arkayan was originally developed as an acoustic side project but slowly morphed into the 5 member group that constitutes their current line-up. Vocalist/guitarist Jon Mazzardis also serves as the bands manager, and is accompanied by Niall Ridgeway (guitar), Djan Irianto (drums), Raq Santella (vocal harmonies) and Dan Bruce (bass).
"Away from the World" displays many skills and characteristics of a band that has been together a while, let alone, in this case, one that is relatively new and currently unsigned. The album opener "Long Standing Silence" blasts with a pulsating riff and sharp lyrics that sets the bar pretty high and is maybe failed to live up to throughout the rest of the tracks.
An interesting characteristic of Arkayan is the almost duel lead singing, which in truth is more of a harmonized duality between lead singer Mazzardis and back-up/harmony vocalist Raq Santella. Santella, (a chick) makes for an interesting combination in the harmonizing and dual lyrical sound, adding a soft yet hauntingly echoing voice to Mazzardis's raspy yet melodic and powerful tone. This duality is a prominent characteristic in all their songs, and while sometimes it works in the band's and listeners' favor, (see Moving Mountains, New Decay, and One-Side Decisions). It can also hinder and confuse the feeling and tone of a song, particularly on "Amputation," which is a half acoustic, half electric number that seems to lose its direction halfway through the song.
The guitars, bass, and drums seem to be tightly knit and fused together in their rhythms and sonic synchronicity, which again pulls me in two directions. On one hand I can get locked into a groove on a song like "Bon Jovi Friday" with its searing blasts of frenetic sounding guitar and percussion that drives and steers the groove I realized I have trouble differentiating the songs because of the similar pace and arrangement of half the album.
The counter to the previous statement is the album closer "Vanishing," which provides a magnetic intro and showcases some of the musical talents I believe could and should be displayed throughout the album. I highly recommend the album opener and closer, one can clearly see that this band does have tremendously potential.
The fact that Arkayan remains unsigned is very surprising and I have a hunch that it will not last long. There are many positives and signs that Arkayan can make themselves known in the music world, including here in the States. They seem to stay inside their particular straight forward musical confines; it would be interesting to see where they can go musically as a group. Mazzardis's voice is a strong point in the group, along with the pulsating guitars and rhythm section Arkayan could have a very bright future. "Away from the World" is an ambitious start, having just discovered this relatively new and unknown Australian group I am eager to see what direction they take their musical talents in. Visit their website for more information and to purchase their debut Album "Away from the World."
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Reviewer Bio - Tim Rosini is part of the editorial team at Onlinerock team. Having a background in English literature with a concentration in creative writing, Tim found himself working for various magazines and websites after moving out to the west coast last summer. Having the ability to adapt his focus from business writing to creative fiction he has found a great place to exercise his passion for music on the onlinerock website.