A Review of ArelKing’s Album Montage

Letting a musician’s emotions paint the path for the rhythm of the track, or combining several genres of music into each—these are fundamental ways of exploring beyond musical boundaries. On their latest album, this is just what indie band ArelKing does.

ArelKing’s new album, Montage, provides rhythmic tones that stand out from other musicians. This album features the band’s technique of combining different harmonies to go along with the electrifying chord changes and progressions, including vibrant drum patterns. Each of these techniques used allows the listeners to absorb each note of the melody as if they were present in the recording studio.

“Radiohead was a big influence, including Beck where he mixes every musical genre, which is what we want to do.” said Francis Duruisseau, singer, keyboardist and guitarist for ArelKing.

Other band members include Raphaël Thibodeau on guitar, keyboards and bass, Mathieu Beaudet on bass, synthesizers and guitars and Sophane Beaudin-Quintin playing drums and percussions.

One of the band’s main goals is to fuse different musical genres such as progressive/alternative rock with a hint of jazz fusion to create a different world of music altogether. Mixing genres of music leaves listeners and future musicians thinking of the possibility of combining any beat, sound and melody.

Each sound created allows the group to explore their interest in every type of music. The band doesn’t seek interest in how the song should end, but instead focus on the type of melody used throughout each individual track.

“When we play, we have no idea how the song will end, but all we know is that we follow our emotions for creating our melodies.” explained Duruisseau.

Giving a first listen to Montage, it was impressive how the distortion effect didn’t overpower the other instruments being used throughout the album.

The track “Wait, Now” is an impeccable example of this technique, wherein the sound of a repetitive chord progression contains a hint of distortion. At the same time, the melody of the song stays integrated with the synthesizers mimicking the chord progression. The harmony of the background vocals are used to resemble the song “Because” by The Beatles and a slow shuffling drum beat that guides the melody in the right direction.

Before officially joining ArelKing, Beaudet was at Duruisseau’s house where he was idly picking away at his guitar with the same repetitive chord pattern. As he was picking, Duruisseau had the idea to play along the melody by using the rhodes effect on his keyboard. Five minutes later, the sixth track of Montage “Somebody in the Attic” was created.

“The song talks about having a mythical figure inside your head who is controlling and telling you what to do,” said Duruisseau.

The track begins as a muted clean repetitive electric guitar chord progression with a hint of distortion, accompanied by a funky bass chord, an easy-to follow shuffling drum beat and the soft sound of synthesizers that have a quiet yet impactful presence.

Once the beat settles in, the vocals make a normal appearance, providing a standard tone of voice. In the middle of the track, the voice gets rougher from the rhythmic pattern change, providing a faster, but still shuffling, funky beat.

At the end of the piece, the beat goes back to the beginning of the track, but the repetitive chord progression is replaced by an energized guitar solo, perfectly adjusted with the tempo of the track, ending the song on several good notes.

After listening to the album in its entirety, the only criticism that comes to mind is the low presence of warmer guitar tones into some songs. The clean tones that are used are great for adding a brighter sound to the guitar, but if the band chose instead to integrate more warmer tones, then the sound of the bass would have elevated, adding more depth in each track. The beginning of the track “Palisade” could have used this, which would have added more warmth to the song as a whole.

Overall, Montage is a good choice if you’re sitting back with a good pair of headphones, reading a great book and in the mood to relax to various sounds of music.

ArelKing // Montage // arelking.bandcamp.com

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