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Ark Life is releasing their debut album The Dream of You & Me on Tuesday, August 19th. The five piece, comprised of frontman, guitarist, and lead singer Jesse Elliott, pianist and vocalist Lindsay Giles, bassist and vocalist Anna Morsett, guitarist and vocalist Natalie Tate, and drummer Ben Desoto, have a sound akin to The Alabama Shakes, The Band, and Clear Plastic Masks. Soulful Southern blues rock with gorgeously done three-part harmonies. Check out FDRMX’s track-by-track album review on the Encyclopedia of Music below.
1. “Let Your Heart Break” opens the album with words of wisdom and a Dixie blues sound. “If you think too much about the things you love / you’re gonna lose them some day.”
2. “Proud of Me Out There, Mama” has that travelin’ the road style recognizable in mainstream Americana. Desoto’s percussion provides a clap-along sound on the chorus along with the full backup harmonies.
3. “What You Want To” also has that classic rock song familiarity to it that makes you feel nostalgic almost right away. This tune in particular has a sort of Southern soul feel to it, with a bit of funk thrown in.
4. “You’re With Me”, a duet that features the only solo female vocals on the album, is so divine it makes you wish there were more of a prominent focus on the ladies of the band throughout the album. But they contribute stellar instrumentals and backup vocals, especially on this tune.
5. “Molly Brown” – The humorous, historic fable “Molly Brown”
6. “The Dream of You & Me” -is the title track of Ark Life’s debut album, and stays true to the theme of the LP. A feeling of nostalgia for the days gone by while looking forward to better times, learning from mistakes made in the past, be they overdoing it at a party to messing up a relationship. This is a coming of age song at its finest.
7. “She” opens with rollicking drums and playful rhythm guitar and later, a fat Roads keyboard. This song has the potential to be a radio hit. The vocals are catchy and mind-blowing.
8. “Have to Leave You Now” is one of those that brings to mind an old bluesy soul breakup tune. Complete with “ooohs” in three-part harmony and a bar piano sound, frontman Jesse Elliott’s voice inflects that tone that makes this song tug your heartstrings. “I gave you so much time to love me / so much time / gonna hafta leave ya now.”
9. “Some Unheroic Hill” is a classic piano ballad that harkens back to songs of The Band, but with the soulful female backup vocals that assuage this album. “Sometimes you gonna get off scott free / sometimes you gonna pay with your teeth / sometimes the magic works / sometimes you just please you.”
10. “Rock & Roll (Take It Easy)” has a sound similar to ‘70’s rock, especially in the guitar, where the vocals again pull towards the soulful Southern blues sound. This could easily become chill-out summer anthem.