Arkells are singing to bring us together with their fifth studio album Rally Cry on October 19th, 2108. The album was expertly produced by longtime collaborator Eric Ratz, mixed by Mark Needham (Fleetwood Mac) and mastered by Greg Calbi (Arcade Fire).
The album’s title demands attention. Rally Cry is political but it’s much more than just criticism and anger; there’s a plan here, and it is propped up by hope. There are storytelling qualities that reflect Bruce Springsteen, with tales of small towns and grassroots movements. In this political climate, we must feed off our collective energy to make things right again. We are in this together, and Arkells have just given us protest music to share.
Video: Arkells – Relentless
American Screams sets the narrative atmosphere of the rest of the album. The lyrics are smart and critical while the music has a disco vibe. You’ll wanna dance in this revolution. The band used real billboards with a hotline number to advertise the new album, and it was pure genius. On the surface, it was an interesting marketing idea, but symbolically it represents our need for conversation during this politically volatile era. We gotta talk, we gotta vent, and we gotta make a move.
The single, Relentless, is good enough to provoke even the passive as vocalist Max Kerman chants “relentless like a dog on a bone /we got gas in the tank to go all night long/ relentless we don’t walk alone/ its time to get to work so let’s get goin’.
Video: Arkells – People’s Champ
People’s Champ calls out megalomaniacs while it searches for someone to lead with humanity and spirit; “You ain’t no robin hood/ never been in this neighborhood.” Company Man is challenging anyone who follows the rules without question. Of course, there are more heartfelt tracks on the album. Only for a Moment is subtle and romantic, a calming break from the fire.
Arkells are leading us out of the dizzying world of newspeak by giving us our own language note by note. It’s our turn to talk. Rally Cry is a sing-along album meant to be experienced by a group. It has the right visionary elements to bring a community together, and it’s exhilarating enough to motivate the resistance.
Also published on Medium.