Russian Arms and Optics-Dark Matter EP

Russian Arms and Optics pretty much had me at their name alone. I had no idea what I was going to hear when they sent me their tracks, but I loved the band name, it stuck in my head, so much so that when I met Liz last fall, I immediately remembered it to her smiling surprise. This past January 25th, they released their new EP Dark Matter at the Icehouse Tavern and it is three blistering songs of indie rock, with a dance punk sensibility, a touch of alternative metal and amazing female vocals that tie it all together, I cannot wait to catch Russian Arms & Optics live. This group is a perfect fit for many of the strong rocking female led bands emerging in our lovely scene, like Zero Zero, Therapist, PALMS and would go down damn well with the likes of Doctor Bones.

Their energy is simply infectious and they promise the hooks will stay in your head and they sure as hell do.  “Whispersick” was the first track that came my way and I’m still having problems shaking the chorus, though all in all, while it is the most traditional, consistent and accessible track on the affair, it is the other two tracks that will set your soul on fire. While I think the single will get them pretty far as inviting listeners to enjoy their sound, I truly believe that the other two songs will hold their attention and ensure a sense of fascination for their music

“A Lie From Me To You” has this amazing balance between searing guitar and an amazing synth backdrop while Liz’ vocals and the pounding drums hold everything together in the center—it’s literally pure delight for this particular listener. You can read the full review of this song when I picked it as a Song of the Week back in January on Months later my thoughts on the song still hold up:

“A Lie From Me To You” is simply a tight three and a half minute rock out tune that makes me feel good to be alive while the singer indicts all betrayers for mistruths, half-lies, superficial mirror moves and generally takes someone to task, all the while suggesting they free themselves of this turmoil inducing rat-race. It’s a difficult lyric to face and for more than a few people it should land pretty close to home for where you are on either side of this fence—in some cases I’m sure you’ve been in both positions, because life is cyclic like that, in others your firmly on side or the other. Still, it is a brilliant biting criticism on insecurity and the toll it takes not only on the offender and the defender. Ultimately, the chorus is redemptive and seemingly sympathetic, brilliantly played in the words, “Your heart is caught up in this disco, baby come on, You’re so afraid that you’ll be let go, baby move on.” It is a goodbye, farewell, but not one without trying to urge the lost soul to correct their ways and come to terms with themselves. Pretty brilliant stuff for an electrified power pop tune that clocks in under four minutes.

“Operator” is another design all together where, the keys certainly lead  in and grab your attention, right before the guitar and drum assault blow it all away and you are washed in, nay, nearly drowned in a tidal wave of acidic power pop brilliance. “You’ve got my heart, wrapped in a box and  thrown away the key,” there’s a lot more heartache and hurt here, but it’s done with such brilliant power pop commitment, that it soars to the sky with good vibrations and a wonderful upbeat, breakneck speed that just makes me smile endlessly. Definitely, one of my favorite finds of the New Year so far and I truly hope that at the end of the year I’m declaring Russian Arms And Optics as one of my favorite bands to emerge on the scene in 2013—these guys (and gal) need to start playing everywhere, because I’m pretty sure they will instantly set the crowds on fire. This is goddamned brilliant. They’ve made a mess of me. Now be sure to catch them this Saturday at the Sail Inn when they take part in the International Pop Overthrow. This  is the first time I will see them live and I am super excited about this opportunity. If you have any doubts, you can listen to the entire EP below and decide for yourself, then I’ll see you on Saturday when the hit the stage right before Zero Zero!

Photo by Steph Carrico