[Album Review] Arc Numbers- Universal Eternals
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Release Date: March 18th, 2015
Label: Jeunesse Cosmique

Arc Numbers isn’t so much a living, breathing band as it is an ‘in-house’ project of Montreal’s boutique record label Jeunesse Cosmique. Anchored by BB Jr, the record showcases a rotating roster of the label’s musicians. Far from being a gimmicky cobbling together of musical flotsam and jetsam, the album has a coherence to it. It develops its own vibe and makes its own statement. And it’s damn good.

The opening track “If You Got It Let It Go” has an insistent electro beat, but the guitars weep mournfully as Lisa Acosta coos a gorgeous dream pop song. “Canal” has Kristina Castaneda, singing somewhat more forcefully this time, in a slow burning ballad that steadily builds to a synth-filled climax. From this point on the album gets progressively more strange. In “An Opposite and Eternal Reaction” Dan O’Connor rants maniacally, like a demented David Byrne (I mean, even more demented), and in “Stripping Naked Nudes Wearing Clothes” there are distant spoken words behind a jumble of guitar noise. The album arguably hits the height of its weirdosity with the cheesy “Love Rehearsal” wherein Ben Eagle hams it up in a sort of Scott Walker impersonation as he leads the troupe in a faux 1960s high baroque pop number.

Do you get the impression that they are deliberating try to push our buttons here, to see exactly how much we’ll take before we yell, “Stop it. Now you’re just being silly”? Yeah, I think so too. But guess what, they don’t succeed. No matter how much they try to throw you a curve ball you stay with it, because it works. Their experimentations and indulgences don’t wreck a thing – they enhance it all.

Jeunesse Cosmique are noted for embracing the unconventional and the oddball. The musical styles in their stable vary widely, but if there was ever a single body of work that represent it all, that brought it all together in one cohesive statement, then ‘Universal Eternals’ is it.