Alcoa - Bone and Marrow
Release Date: February 26, 2013
Record Label: Bridge Nine
Even though Derek Archambault is better known as the man screaming out his guts for hardcore outfit Defeater, his first love may be the music he makes with his acoustic guitar. You see, Archambault has been writing and recording songs in this style long before Defeater came along in 2008, but that band has always been his priority and rightfully so – the band is one of the most loved hardcore acts currently and have toured the world. Still, as a fan of various genres of music, Archambault most likely still wanted to release his brand of folky, acoustic tunes under the surname Alcoa one day. The necessary bump to actually release this material might have come when fans reacted so positively to the acoustic songs featured on the last two Defeater albums. It gave him the confidence in his singing and songwriting ability to move ahead with his vision. Now just a few years later, and Archambault’s releasing his debut solo album, Bone and Marrow, on Bridge Nine. Just don’t expect any of it to be like second disc on Empty Days and Sleepless Nights.
And it’s Archambault’s love for all things music that makes Bone and Marrow so enthralling. Each of the album’s eleven tracks is dripping with raw emotion and its luscious instrumentation will have listeners craving for more. Immediately you feel the vibrant warmth of “Keep Track/Lose Track.” A faint organ sound swells in the background right as the song’s chorus majestically kicks in. It’s the perfect track to introduce Bone and Marrow, easing you with one of the album’s catchiest numbers. Archambault’s breathy vocals give “Drowned” its urgent tone, while he’s his most vulnerable on melancholy “I Don’t Feel Welcome Here Or Anywhere.”
Sometime that plagues solo ventures is the lack of variety throughout its accompanying album. Archambault’s ability to navigate through various moods and keys is what makes Alcoa such a fulfilling listen. The haunting “Cab Rides and Cigarettes” has a little extra flair thanks to the additional of backing female vocals (courtesy of Archambault’s fiancée, Alyssa Eygnor). Archambault’s lyrics and musicianship are so intimately woven that it gives the listener a real sense of connection to each and every Alcoa song.
Bone and Marrow bounces between full band and stripped-down tracks throughout its eleven tracks. Alcoa can go full-on country when it wants to, as the upbeat “Lucky Me” can attest (the last thirty seconds are fantastic). Archambault can also slow down the tempo when need be, as the bare-boned “Whiskey and Wine” is emotionally draining. Album closer “Third Untitled” indulges in both – driving home the album with a potpourri of instrumentation that’s guaranteed to leave a huge smile on your face.
Bone and Marrow is an incredibly engaging album from beginning to end – making Alcoa a band you absolutely need to know in 2013. Fans of folk, alt-country, and the like will be all over this, but honestly you don’t really have to be all that familiar with the genre to appreciate what Derek Archambault has done with Alcoa. It doesn’t matter if you’re sweating in the pit or gently strumming an acoustic guitar – you will undoubtedly latch onto Bone and Marrow.
he actually thought of the name while driving through Alcoa, TN haha
I figured it was something like that haha. Alcoa, TN was named after/by the company when they incorporated it for a large plant about a century ago or so. Nothing wrong with the name; it's just weird to me since I spent the last 2 years with Alcoa as my main client so all I can think of is aluminum haha.