Dan Auerbach + The Arcs, “Stay in My Corner” from Yours, Dreamily (2015): One Track Mind

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Unlike most great solo projects, the Arcs’ “Stay in My Corner” doesn’t attempt any muscle-popping left turns — not with so many connections back to Dan Auerbach’s principal band the Black Keys.

There’s the presence of Richard Swift (the band’s touring bassist) and Leon Michels, who has also worked on previous Auerbach projects. There’s also the song’s lean, off-kilter feel. Even the subject matter, as “Stay in My Corner” uses the recent Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao bout as a leaping off point for a meditation on romantic need, would have fit right in on 2010’s commercial and creative breakthrough Brothers. The falsetto approach on the mic from Dan Auerbach, too.

Maybe that’s the point of this introductory track, from the Arcs’ forthcoming debut Yours, Dreamily. Due September 4, 2015, via Nonesuch, the project also features Homer Steinweiss, Nick Movshon, Kenny Vaughan and members of Mariachi Flor De Toloache. That holds the promise of a few off-road moments, maybe more than Dan Auerbach and the label were willing to give away on first blush.

Whether that makes this teeth-splinteringly boring, or a cool-rocking little find, depends largely it seems on how desperate you are for a follow up to the Black Keys’ Turn Blue, which arrived just last summer. Or, how seriously you took Auerbach’s promise that the Arcs’ Yours, Dreamily was going to be “extra weird.”

Not here — or not yet, anyway. Study hard enough and the lush backing arrangement on “Stay in My Corner” perhaps provides a glimpse into what will make the Arcs stand apart from Auerbach’s work alongside Patrick Carney. Ultimately, however, it’s not much to go on, at least for those searching for something substantially different. For everyone else, the Arcs thus far sound like just another pleasant iteration of something Dan Auerbach has been doing very well for quite a while.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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