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Arc Of Life: Don't Look Down
Arc Of Life - Don't Look Down Album Art

Arc Of Life: Don't Look Down

Melodic Progressive Rock
3.5/5.0

Some 21 months past, Arc Of Life appeared with eponymous debut album. The band is the creation of composer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Billy Sherwood (Yes, Circa, World Trade, et al). He includes notable musicians from the prog universe, including those currently and specifically associated with Yes: vocalist Jon Davison and drummer Jay Schellen. Arc Of Life is made a quintet with the addition of Dave Kerzner (ex-Sound of Contact) on keyboards and Jimmy Haun (Yes, Air Supply, Circa, et al) on guitars. Don't Look Down is their second long-player for Frontiers Music.

Arc Of Life Click For Larger Image

Arc Of Life

Perhaps sounding somewhat repetitive from my review of their debut, this album also begs the same question. Is Arc Of Life merely a Yes imitation? Is life imitating art? Or, as the proverb goes, is imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? Not diminishing the talents of Steve Howe, Chris Squire or any original members of Yes, but the sound of Yes can probably be reduced to the voice of Jon Anderson. You can stop cringing now. To this point, without Anderson, Yes has always tried to find a vocalist that sounds like him. Jon Davison certainly does. But with Arc Of Life everything is intentional.



Sherwood and company make no apologies for their Yes spin off. Jon Davison sounds like Jon Anderson throughout. In more than a few instances, Jimmy Haun displays Howe-like nuances. His solo about five minutes into Colors Come Alive is a fine example. Also in the later part of the lengthy Arc Of Life. Yes and Squire-like, Sherwood the bassist has a large presence throughout as well. His bass lines transcends being the mere groove keeper to prog technologist. However, what transcends all these things is the song arrangements.

The songs are classic, complex and intriguing, melodic progressive rock wherein talent and musicianship are the trump cards. So much so, they probably could be best served as instrumentals (and maybe the should be). For one, I found Davison difficult to follow when singing the lyrics, especially within Real Time World and Arc Of Life. The possible exception is All Things Considered, something shorter (no doubt for "single" purposes) that arrives as a less technical rock song. Perhaps the larger conundrum for this listener is simply this: I'm a Yes fan; I cut my teeth as a teen listening to their English prog; Yeah, I'm that old. It's not that a band can't imitate or sound like Yes, it just seems strange sometimes. Deja vu all over again?

Nevertheless, if you enjoy classic and technical, English-style, melodic progressive rock (and similar to Yes), you will enjoy Arc Of Life's well-crafted and entertaining exploration and rendition within Don't Look Down. Recommended.


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The Take Away

If you enjoy classic and technical, English-style, melodic progressive rock (and similar to Yes), you will enjoy Arc Of Life's well-crafted and entertaining exploration and rendition within Don't Look Down. Recommended.

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