Accessible electronic music tends to fall into two categories: electro-dance, strobe-lit club-shakers, and removed, echoing disturbia. So what happens when a band presses forward and does both? You’d get Brooklyn’s ArpLine, whose debut full-length Travel Book traffics in both grand club dance-press and stripped, affecting procession.
Of the two sides, Travel starts its journey in the dance-up, first with opening instrumental "Speed (Rush Ah)", and then the electric "Fold Up Like a Piece of Paper", a dance anthem for the rest of us. Bigger takes on this come in the subsequent "Make It Rain" and middle piece "Weekend In the Colonies", a kind of 80s electro-procession party. Only latter number "Game" misses, as its electro-rock kind of grinds on & on.
But perhaps that’s because the back half of Travel is dominated by ArpLine’s removed, stripped, echoing electronica. And unlike the dance-up A-side, which kind of peaks early with "Fold Up", the restraint builds in quality, from the sad "Amplify" through "Sound and Versions" & "Cap" to closer "Rope", where the band reaches new heights of power. While the dance-up Arp is more immediately memorable, the echo-down Line is stronger in terms of quality.
Live, ArpLine (formerly The Kiss Off) have their own kind of dichotomy on stage: guitarist Adam De Rosa and drummer Michael Chap Resnick are all restraint (De Rosa looking like a skinny eighties New Wave Brit, fixed in place), while bassist Nate Lithgow takes up the whole stage-left when he jumps about, keyboardist Oliver Edsforth focuses on his instrument, but also struggling with being tied down to it, and singer/guitarist Sam Tyndall changing with the mood of each song. Which side one likes better is really a matter of personal opinion (and both camps can appreciate "Paris Unknown", electro-lit, but also darker), but the band does both very well.
MP3 Stream: "Fold Up Like a Piece of Paper"