REVIEW album Old Subbacultcha Old Subbacultcha

Eclecticism abides on Jocie Adams (ex-The Low Anthem) debut album as Arc Iris

Old Subbacultcha

Old Subbacultcha

Jocie Adams takes us on a dizzying genre hop on her wild, eclectic debut album as Arc Iris, backed by alumni from the School of Rock no less


 Arc Iris - Arc Iris (OUT 31st MARCH)

Former NASA researcher and classical composer Jocie Adams spent several years in primarily backing fiddle (*ahem*
'multi instrumentalist') mode for
The Low Anthem , seemingly bottling up a myriad of musical itches and ideas that are scratched and played out in gloriously schizophrenic technicolor on her self-titled debut album as
Arc Iris. There are moments akin to the alt-country leanings of  
The Low Anthem certainly - the
First Aid Kit harmonies of
'Money Gnomes' and the cribbed lovelorn melody from
Andrew Bird's beautiful
'Cataracts' on
'Whiskey Man' for instance -  but there's far more musical terrain explore herein. Backed at all times by and expanding and contracting assembly of professional musicians (who were schooled at the School of Rock and apparently
'cut their teeth' with the likes of Slash, Andrew WK and the Butthole Surfers no less), whilst eclecticism is the name of the game it comes wrapped in gorgeous precision in every note, tweet and saw. Take the vibrantly lush orchestral arrangements and jazzy
Joni Mitchell fragility of '
Lost In Me' or '
Singing So Sweetly' where some
Tom Waits kitchen sink cacophony is offset by Adam's ever-sweet vocals and punctuated by gloriously playful Minnie the Moocher trumpet squawk. 
'Ditch' begins life as a do-wop 1950's prom ballad before introducing some Al Kooper-esque organ theatrics and
 'Swimming' crams in some jaunty
Van Dyke Parks music hall stylings,
Randy Newman stomp and hints of
Dirty Projectors-esque afrobeat. With similar grandiose cabaret-ambitions,  
'Might I Deserve To Have A Dream' is so theatrical at times, the dense distortion of the guitar aside, it wouldn't be our of place in Les Miserable whilst 
'Powder Dream' sounds like a age-old blues standard that would slot neatly onto Eric Clapton's 'Unplugged'. In the continued spirit of colliding genres and seamless sharp-turns
'Honor Of The Rainbows I' employs experimental Julianna Barwick vocal-loop trickery whilst
'Canadian Cowboy' offsets plaintive
Judee Sill piano and vocal with dubby bass, Adams and co. restlessly avoiding the pigeon-hole. If there is a slight elephant in the room it's a certain
Joanna Newsom whose
'Ys' in particular casts a familiar shadow that's tough to shrug off but all in all, Adams has asserted a compelling voice away from  
The Low Anthem and then some.