Arizona: Glowing Bird


Want a group that knows how to create big, luscious melodies but that can still rock out? Look no further than Arizona.  A native NYC band, they recently relocated to Asheville, NC to tap into the music phenomenon that small town has become.  Luckily, the group had already established their sound long before the move.  Still, it’s tough to pigeon hole these guys into a genre because they’re just all over the place – in a very good way.  Their new full length, Glowing Bird (and first for a label, Echo Mountain), confirms their plethora of influences and styles.


Take, for instance, songs like "The Fairly Light" or "Don’t Have the Body."  Co-lead singer Ben Wigler, who is one of the only clear rivals to Jeff Buckley in the contemporary, rock vocal department, utilizes his breathy, ethereal voice to compliment the spare acoustic guitars to create soothing, yet heart-wrenching ballads ala Radiohead’s "Nude" or "Fake Plastic Trees."  But then on the other side we get a track like "Colors" which is full of energy, crashing cymbals and wailing electric guitars.  The genius of Arizona is that in both instances, the melody is never lost.


Yet, what really sets Arizona apart from the other "indie" groups out there is their production work.  Ever since their first self-released EP, The Sun and the Room, production has always been a large part of the group’s sound.  Produced by Danny Kadar (My Morning Jacket) along with some help by the group’s bassist Alex Hornbake, who has taken a large role behind the knobs since the group’s inception, Glowing Bird is crisp and clean without sounding slick.  In this day and age a clean production sound means Velvet Revolver’s new overly compressed album.  But for Arizona it recalls Pink Floyd.  And like Pink Floyd, these guys aren’t afraid to experiment with atmosphere.  They play straight forward rock and roll, but they aren’t afraid to throw in an erhu (look it up) if necessary.  Arizona is able to sound loose and open, while every move they make is extremely calculated.  It’s tough to pull that off these days.

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