Arc Iris

Arc Iris

Arc Iris

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(Bella Union)

This hearty debut from former Low Anthem vocalist and clarinettist Jocie Adams belongs to a tradition of stylistic eclecticism that includes such classics as Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Todd Rundgren's A Wizard, A True Star and Prince's Sign O' The Times, albums whose makers were seeking to staunch ennui by reaching out into new territory. But this artistic strength begets a commercial weakness, since Arc Iris - an assembly of instrumentalists with CVs pocked by names as diverse as Slash, Vampire Weekend and Yes's Jon Anderson - are a long way from established. What are they all about, then? On one hand there's the vibrant folksy alt-country of Whiskey Man; on the other the glib cabaret of Canadian Cowboy, while elsewhere Adams & Co share Jim O'Rourke's penchant for 1970s chordal sophistication on Money Gnomes. In contrast, Honor Of The Rainbows I channels a mournful, filmic impressionism redolent of Louisville group Rachel's. Such breadth of scope is a lot to digest, but if you have the appetite, these 11 tracks constitute a rare banquet.

Sean Guthrie