Based purely on the sound of their self-titled debut, Arthur Channel is a supergroup formed not because of commercial appeal, but because of true musical synergy between members. Longtime collaborators and Eleven cofounders Alain Johannes and Jack Irons (the former also known for his work in Queens Of The Stone Age, the latter as a founder of Red Hot Chili Peppers) together with Greg Richling (ex-member of The Wallflowers, along with Irons) and Jon Greene have created an album rooted in emotion; it bounces between soaring highs and lows influenced by the darkness of the artists’ realities. In some ways, the LP is a continuation of Johannes’ Spark, a tribute to his late wife and fellow musician.
As a band, Arthur Channel is a chameleon, in that their music can blend well with any setting. Greene’s voice is soft and able enough to please the ears of the masses, but there is an edginess to their music, partially attributable to Johannes’ signature squealing guitars, that takes their music to a harder level. Anyone who enjoys QOTSA’s Lullabies To Paralyze can find reason to love the hell out of this release, but it still keeps its feet planted firmly in light indie rock.
Delay is a common musical theme on the record, with “Most Satisfied” and “16 Children” being strong examples. The two songs exemplify the wide range of tempo on the album, with one being among the quickest, most upbeat tracks and the other being the opposite, respectively. However, the record’s greatest weakness lies in the fact that just listening to two songs gives a pretty clear idea of the whole album.
Artists do a lot of networking, and it can be fun to wind through a web of musicians to see just how someone knows someone else. Arthur Channel is the product of a network that spans multiple decades, and the synergy that such a complex chain of collaboration creates is evident on this debut. I recognize that no band is made up of people that hate each other (at least, they don’t begin that way), but this is one band that takes the description “just a bunch of friends making music” to another level.
In A Word: Interconnected