18 Oct 2021

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Arrays - Album Review: Light Years

25 Nov 2020 // A review by Kris Raven

Arrays, the all in one independent vision of Auckland musician JP Carroll (ex-Armed in Advance, Swerve City) has grown from strength to strength, consistently putting out material over the last few years and imprinting the Arrays name as its own unique force in the NZ music community. While earlier material may have been a little reminiscent of previous outfits, the new album Light Years, which is all produced, written and played by Carroll himself has become its own defined musical machine, weaving influences of modern metal, post hardcore, grunge and alternative rock, among others.

Arrays has slowly been building hype for the upcoming album over the last few months and I have to say, the album while cohesive and balanced also offers a good mix of song styles, structures and growth in song writing and technique. I take my hat off (literally) to JP for going it alone all the way with this project, while working with a small team around him, he has single handily performed all the instruments which in itself is no easy feat. I found with this album the musicianship has really stepped up especially with the drums and bass, coming into their own with a lot more with more groove and flair and some nicely distorted bass tones.

Of all of the 10 tracks across the album, a song that really hit me was recently released single No Way Out. It's just heavy, raw, aggressive and something so unexpected. A great song for the 2020 climate, full of emotion, energy and rage. The instrumentation is solid, blending late 90’s metal with hard rock and Alice in Chains vibes, Carroll’s screams are a whole new side of his vocal range which are impressive. Throw in a break down, some double kicks and guitar licks and this song is a stand out for those wanting a head banger.

Dissemble Me is another massive highlight, it reminds me of rock giants like Three Days Grace but with a more of a progressive metal edge, there is a heaviness but also a lot of melody and strong hooks. With a clever arrangement, the stop/start guitar in the pre chorus to the slow beat more ambient verse type parts it keeps you intrigued to where it will take you next. Like a lot of the tracks, there Is some great intricate guitar work, whether it be circulative rhythmic parts with well syncopated drums and bass or the catchy guitar leads that lend to the song with further melody. Topped off with a sweet breakdown, discordant chords and well placed screamed vocals.

Home is a track I am sure a lot of people will find comfort in, relating to the lyrical theme of lockdown life, a pandemic climate and adjusting to a new life in the 20's decade, a not so distant memory and a reality for many still globally. What a crazy year it has been! Music has defiantly been a force that has helped so many get through and we have been lucky with so many epic releases from NZ to abroad. Despite its reality hitting lyrics, the music has an upbeat vibe which allows you to embrace it as rock banger but think about the overall picture.

Songs like the opening and title track Light Years have a sweet bounce and swing and a hooky guitar lead that sticks in your head. The final track The Topographer (a new word to me - a person who creates maps). I can hear the Periphery influence, complex guitar riffs, overlapping and well balanced lead and rhythm guitars with some technical wizardry seeing out the finale of the song. The guitars parts are well meshed and mixed and really highlight another side of Carroll's guitar work.

Overall, I was really impressed with the full package of Light Years. The songs stand on their own but also flow well together. It feels like Carroll has really found and honed his sound and delivered a strong package of modern rock tracks that offer introspective and relatable lyrics backed with creative musical landscapes, embraced with aspects of modern metal and rock and becoming their own. Be sure to check out the new album and support your local independent scene. 2020 sucks but the music is a 100!

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About Arrays

Arrays is the solo studio project of JP Carroll - the archetypal one man band. JP writes, performs and arranges the songs, records and produces the tracks, and even handles the mixes by himself. Music is his obsession, from writing a song, to mixing it and releasing it.

The new album Light Years is a tour de force of melodic, guitar heavy, metal-infused rock. This record is proudly independent, self produced and funded, and another way point on the journey JP is on to achieving the sound he hears in his head.

No Way Out presents a visceral, aggressive aspect of Arrays, driven by a palm muted riff, before the syncopated, stomping bridge lands. Little Blue Dot reveals a softer side, until the anthemic final chorus. Home is a twisted time capsule for our shared experience in lockdown, and the title track sets off the record with introspective lyrics and an arrangement big and wide enough to carry them.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Arrays


Light Years
Year: 2020
Type: Album
Year: 2017
Type: EP

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