Alcoa – Bone and Marrow (2013)

There’s something about Derek Archambault’s vocals that can keep my attention like no one elses can. Alcoa is the solo effort of Derek Archambault; you may know of him as the vocalist of the hardcore band Defeater. If you’re a fan of Defeater, you more than likely know about the hype behind the band’s acoustic song “I Don’t Mind”, which showed off some of Archambault’s clean-vocal abilities. After being in the shadows for a while, Bridge Nine Records announced that this solo project would finally release its debut full length album, Bone and Marrow, on February 26th.

Bone and Marrow starts off with “Keep Track, Lose Track”, a very uplifting-sounding song, to say the least. The way the instruments flow together in this song makes for a very attention-grabbing opening track. I was a huge fan of the way the organ was incorporated into this track. If you’re going into this album expecting eleven “I Don’t Mind” sounding songs, turn back now. This album is on a whole different level. Following track one is “Drowned”, as soon as this song started I immediately notice just how relaxing this album was going to be. Next up was “I Don’t Feel Welcome Here or Anywhere”, a pretty straight forward acoustic song until you reach the the end. The acoustic guitar is instantly accompanied by a very ambient electric guitar riff.

Archambault is joined by his fiance, Alyssa Eygnor, in “Cab Rides & Cigarettes”. The harmonies that go alongside of the guitar just makes for a very beautiful, intimate feel. You can tell that this is more than just a guest vocalist, but someone who has a real, natural connection with the artist.  Next up is “Limbs”, probably my favorite display of the banjo on the whole record. The build up to the outro is one of the most soothing things I’ve ever heard. The following two songs, “Untitled Two” and “Rike” keep the pace going strong with their incredible guitar work and vocals. Song eight is “Lucky Me” in which the organ returns. I really enjoyed the vocal melodies in the verses of this song. Also, Alyssa makes a brief, yet effective, appearance on this track. Track nine, “Family Tree”, follows in the footsteps of “Lucky Me” pretty closely. The song is a lot slower, but just as melodic and catchy as the previous track. The tempo is slowed down even more when “Whiskey & Wine” begins. This song is probably my favorite off of the record after a few listens. The emotion that seems to just be poured out into this song blows me away. The closing track, “Untitled Three”, seems to just gradually add more and more instruments as the song goes on. This song is seriously one HUGE finale. I could be wrong, but I feel that the upright bass, banjo, fiddle, and the organ all make an appearance in “Untitled Three”. This is probably one of the most epic endings to a solo album I have ever heard.

Overall Bone and Marrow is a masterpiece of a solo project release. I feel Derek poured everything into this record, and it shows. The musicianship, the production, the lyrics, the emotions, everything is top notch. Defeater fans will surely appreciate this different side of the lead-man they know and love. Bone and Marrow is some of the most beautiful, relaxing music I’ve heard in the last decade. Definitely check this out if you’re a Defeater fan, or simply enjoy some amazing, acoustic-driven music. Alcoa produced what could easily hold a spot in the top albums of 2013.


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By Zack Lloyd ~ Me Gusta Reviews