The Arrowsics’ roots are oaken

Straight as a Ring
By SAM PFEIFLE  |  July 18, 2012

beat1_arrowsics_main
BROTHER AND SISTER Arrowsics introduce themselves.

Not sure if you noticed, but for July 4, the New York Times had an evergreen cued up about the new crop of "power siblings" peppered through the Big Apple's arts and business world, including Fun's guitarist Jack Antonoff and fashionista sister Rachel (something about "girly chic sundresses"). Well, the Arrowsics have them one better: Brother and sister Trevor and Molly Geiger actually play in the same band. In fact, are pretty much the whole band.

Recently relocated to Portland from Chicago, the Arrowsics released this week their debut EP, Ring of Oak, a five-song introduction they recorded while in the Windy City with engineer Wes Lambert. It shows a penchant for harmony-filled roots music, electrified and drum-filled, with Trevor writing and playing all of the instruments and Molly handling lead vocals on two tracks.

There's an indie vibe, though, from the phased-out peal of the pedal steel in the opening "Ring of Oak" to the strutting of the guitar and bass in lockstep in the spaghetti Western-like "Waterline." The tone of the electric guitar in "Lost" is somewhere between Built to Spill (sorry, they're on the brain) and the psychedelic tones used by CSN&Y on Deja Vu.

As will happen with siblings, too, their voices resonate nicely with one another. I'd like to hear Molly mixed a little higher when she's on backing vocals, and she's probably the stronger vocalist in general, so her leads on "Lost" and "My Heart Again" steal the show a little as the third and fourth tracks on the EP.

Both miss notes here and there, though, and it wavers back and forth between Neil Young-style charmingly unique and simply a case where they might have wanted to "punch in" (I've been sitting behind Jonathan Wyman too much) a better vocal after the initial take. Too, the lyrics are a touch raw and young: "The girl I love the best/she kissed me on my chest" was a cringer in the opening track. There's lots of stuff about feelings.

Regardless, it's an interesting first effort. The Steely vibe in "Are You Still Listening" comes with a quick repeating riff that evolves into the melody as the verse closes. There's a warm, rolling fingerstyle guitar on "My Heart Again" that's complemented by a quick snare. The jam that finishes the opener builds good tension with a rising guitar solo.

Maybe not a couple of power siblings quite yet, but there might be some untapped wattage still.

Ring of Oak | Released by the Arrowsics | Benefit Dinner for the Bath Area Food Bank | at Bath Freight Shed Alliance, in Bath | July 28 | thearrowsics.com

  Topics: Music Features , Music, Roots, molly geiger
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