Review- “Skin Behind the Shroud”- Cursed Arrows

reviewed by Michael Thomas

I always enjoy when a band has a sound that suits their name. Just as the idea of cursed arrows comes across as kind of sinister, so too does the music of this band. It’s refreshing every once in a while to break up my reviews of pop and folk with some good old-fashioned guitar attacks.

But Cursed Arrows don’t play typical rock music. This duo play grunge-esque music that doesn’t sound anything like the popular music of the 90s. Instead they make the genre their own with additions like spoken-word poetry and some great dual vocals.

By the end of the first song “Empty Memory Bank” you should recognize the band’s signature sound. The electric guitar is heavy and a little fuzzy and is paired with equally ferocious drums. “Carefree Chemicals” continues the attack of the grungy guitars.

Things start to get even more interesting with “Close to the Exit,” a song that starts with drummer Jack E Stanley reciting the aforementioned spoken word poetry before guitarist Ryan Stanley’s guitar comes in. The song seems to be about someone who doesn’t take risks (or do anything exciting) and features a pretty great set of lines: “Can’t even play him a real song/Unless it’s dumb enough for everyone.”

“One in the Blue” (for which there is a pretty crazy music video) takes the grungy guitar to the “ominous” level and the dual vocals of Ryan and Jack E work well here. “In For the Kill” is an even better show of the duo’s fantastic chemistry.

Finally the EP ends with “Laundry Room” which sounds like a list of neuroses. There are lots of repeated phrases such as “So frustrated, so in love” but with an intensity that makes one think that these are all seriously eating away at the narrator’s heads. It’s a good ending to the EP.

Cursed Arrows definitely have a sound that is their own and they will no doubt continue to churn out lots more challenging music in the days to come. Skin Behind the Shroud is available as a FREE download on Bandcamp. You can also purchase the EP on cassette (which is pretty awesome).

Top Track: “Close to the Exit”

Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)

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