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D'arcana — D'arcana
(Lemuria 000401, 2004, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2005-09-01

D'arcana Cover art

There are many influences detectable in this Northern California trio’s music, but luckily they’re uncommon ones and they’re mashed together into an unusual concoction. From time to time I hear Nektar, Metamorphosis-era Iron Butterfly, maybe some Be Bop Deluxe and Rush, and even a touch of classic Moody Blues in the vocal harmonies. That’s right, no Yes or Genesis. Jay Tausig covers lead vocals, keyboards, guitars, drums, and assorted other instruments; Shelby Snow and James Camblin handle bass and guitars respectively, along with backing vocals; Tausig is nearly sole writer. Given this distribution of labor, it’s no surprise that there’s a certain amount of studio sterility to the sound, though they combat it valiantly with lots of unexpected analog synth noises — there are blips and bleeps and burbles going on in several tunes, providing a nice contrast to the layered guitar parts. There’s also a good variety of length and complexity, from a simple tune of less than two minutes to a multi-part suite of fourteen minutes. Tausig’s voice is pleasant in tone and excellent in pitch, ranging from breathy in the quiet bits to dramatic but not over-the-top when the energy cranks up. All of the instrumental work is top-notch, with the occasional exception of the drums, which are merely competent. I’d love to hear this band hire a dedicated drummer and play live — this music deserves to be heard with the kind of energy and passion a live setting would inspire.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 32, 2004 releases

Related artist(s): D'arcana, Jay Tausig


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