Reviews & Spotlights
Arc Of Life: Don't Look Down
We can't help but feel that when Steve Howe finally puts down his guitar and steps away from YES that the guys from Arc Of Life will slot over to become the new lineup of the world's most enduring progressive rock band. Heck, AOC already includes three members of YES - vocalist Jon Davison, bassist/vocalist Billy Sherwood, and drummer Jay Schellen who are joined by Dave Kerzner (ex-Sound of Contact) on keyboards, and Jimmy Haun (also featured on YES albums in the past) on guitar. The quality quintet returns with their sophomore effort Don't Look Down that finds things looking up with six songs that return the group to the long-playing legacy of their deep progressive heritage.
Heck, it was the caped wonder keyboardist Rick Wakeman who once said - "It is the musicians who are there at the time who, for want of a better word, have the honor of continuing making the YES music... I have a strange suspicion that there could be a YES in existence way after I'm gone. That might sound crazy. But in the same way that there will be a New York Philharmonic or a Boston Symphony Orchestra, I really feel that there will be a YES way into the twenty-first century; and way after we're dead and gone, we might just be part of the history books."
So, on their second effort Arc Of Life have made a lively record that still finds itself mostly rooted in terse tracks that live more in the 80's and 90's era of YES that will be a plus for some and a minus for others. Sherwood's vocals continue to remind us of the big shoes he has filled in the parent band and that's a good thing. Jon Davidson's efforts still find us wishing he could tap more into the sweetness and more melodious direction traveled by the other Jon. But, that element has even been missing in his two-full length releases with the more famous group so maybe that is something we should stop hoping for.
Taken on their own Arc Of Life is evolving and beginning to flourish and with 4 of the 6 tracks clocking in at over 7 minutes they show that they are willing to go on the long explorations that fans of the genre truly love. The band's original mission statement expressed the desire as to acknowledge their influences while simultaneously reaching beyond them. They are on their way. But, time will tell if the musical direction they have embarked on will result in a long life-span or one that will be snuffed out before its time. YES fans have high expectations and after two albums I am not sure Arc Of Life is coming close to reaching them.
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Review by Rockin' Rich Lynch |
Arc Of Life