It doesn’t seem to be that long since the Arc of Life debut album that introduced the world to the venture formed by Billy Sherwood and Jon Davison of Yes, along with Dave Kerzner and Jimmy Haun on keyboards and guitar respectively. Well, this album is more ‘Yes’-like than the previous record was and I loved that album. ‘Don’t Look Down’ is more familiar sounding with Jon Davidson being in especially good form and giving Billy Sherwood a fine platform for his inner Chris Squire to shine through, as it does here on the opening track Real Time World. This song has quite a nod to Tempus Fugit from Yes’ ‘Drama’ album and features a rather muscular bass part to propel the track along with some spacey guitar lines from Jimmy that together add up to a very strong and engaging piece from all concerned. When you add Dave Kerzner’s epic synths, you have an excellent slice of this latest Yes offshoot, in fact if Yes decided to call it a day, Arc of Life could quite easily fill that particular void easily and would continue to create challenging new music of their own, as this album of six tracks can testify. I really like this song and feel its authenticity is commendable in being ‘Yes’ like without being derivative and it has enough of its own strength to warrant attention on its own merits.
Don’t Look Down follows and has strong vocal harmonies and a suitably gracious guitar line from Jimmy. Again, Jon sounds flawless on this song and much attention to detail has been used here to make a truly harmonious sound, creating a memorable song with a strong chorus. All Things Considered is quite a funky little piece with excellent bass runs from Billy and good keyboards from Dave, although it’s tone is a little lighter in touch. There is a lot happening musically within its five minute duration, including a very ‘Howe-ish’ guitar tone and solo that has touches that Steve would be proud of. The track is fairly understated but has substance as does Colours Come Alive that follows. this is a brooding track that slowly builds into its intensity and depth until towards the end where it gatherers pace and intensity. It’s another good song with great keyboard textures and tones, a fabulous guitar section from Jimmy and an elegant bass section towards the end that captivates you.
The penultimate song, Let Live, is another mid length track that opens with dynamic guitar and bass parts and has a strong rhythm to it. It is satisfying to hear this band firing on all cylinders and with heaps of energy. This is a faster paced song with much urgency to it. Again. the bass is fairly pivotal to the track and it is welcome for that alone, it really is good to hear the energy and craft to these songs as this bodes well for the future of the group. Maybe this will have an impact on the activities of their parent group, giving them some much needed impetus to their own activities? Arc Of Life concludes the album and is the longest track on the album which gives lots of room for some interesting musical passages. This is definitely the case for the opening minutes of the track which again include some powerful bass playing, something the main Yes band has been missing for a couple of years now, Billy’s bass growls like a wild bear on the prowl and it really makes the overall sound full and prominent. The song moves through several phases but with that prominent bass running throughout, reminds me of Awaken from ‘Going For The One’ for some reason. Jon is in very fine voice once more, this track is really impressive and it certainly has the time to explore its sound, making this an intriguing conclusion to Arc Of Life’s second album, will there be a third? That remains to be seen but, hopefully, there will be a positive enough response to this album that will encourage further activity.
Released 18th November, 2022.
Order the album here: