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White Arrows

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  Bardo is a transitional state of being, the phase of existence between death and rebirth. Itmarks the end of one thing and the beginning of another. It represents an evolution, which iswhy...

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Bardo is a transitional state of being, the phase of existence between death and rebirth. It
marks the end of one thing and the beginning of another. It represents an evolution, which is
why the title of White Arrows’ second album, In Bardo, is so appropriate. The Los Angeles
indie rock band found themselves in a new plane of being after touring extensively since their
inception, finally grounded enough to create a cohesive work that reflected the musicians’
present mindset.
White Arrows, a four-piece who met in Los Angeles, began touring almost as soon as they
formed, hitting the road with Cults, White Denim and The Naked and Famous, and
performing at festivals like Coachella and Sasquatch. The transitory, continuous nature of
touring meant that their 2012 debut album, Dry Land Is Not A Myth, was created in bouts,
pulled together over the course of almost two years. After Coachella last year, the band finally
returned home with no obligations set out before them and allowed the creative process to
take them whenever it would.
“My only motivation was to make songs,” Mickey says. “I wanted to get out all the ideas in a
way that was productive and creative. There was no sense of what the songs would be – I just
wanted to make music. I think there became a cohesive approach as we went along because
we were writing at one particular moment in time. This is all from the same headspace.”
Andrew adds, “Our sound just locked into place as we were writing it. After the first few
songs it clicked in and things started moving faster. I wouldn’t say we knew what we were
doing going into it, but we found out along the way.”
Certain thematic elements were circling the music, even as Mickey wrote some of the lyrics in
a stream of consciousness fashion. He found that death, sex and religion were always present,
always around him, and those ideas sunk into the music on In Bardo itself. The songs are
darker and deeper than those White Arrows have created previously, threaded together by
these omnipresent and sometimes unconscious themes. “Things were happening and I was
thinking about the same things over and over again every day and writing about them,”
Mickey says. “Those are topics that tend to come up in conversation or you hear people
talking about on the street. It was constantly there. I don’t think it was conscious effort to
make an album based on those things but it ended up inherently being thematically very
similar on a song to song basis.”
Musically, In Bardo takes a few strides in a new direction for the band. Andrew, who had
written prior material on keyboards, picked up the guitar and focused strongly on how to
integrate the instrument into White Arrows’ innovative blend of psychedelic rock and
electronic indie pop. “Nobody Cares” was the first song to emerge after touring, a number
Mickey says most aptly conveys the musical balance White Arrows was seeking. “We Can’t
Ever Die,” a boisterous, hook-tinged track that reflects the disc’s title, fully embraces that
aesthetic, setting the stage for the rest of the music the band wrote.
After meeting with several producers, White Arrows selected Jimmy Messer and spent the
winter recording with him at his Los Angeles studio The Tube. It was the band’s first time
making music in a real studio with a producer, and the musicians found the experience to be
ideal. “We loved it,” Andrew adds. “It was a very freeing experience. Jimmy had good
perspective on guitar, which was helpful because that’s where we were trying to shift. It was
the most harmonious record-making process I’ve had with any band so far.”
For White Arrows, In Bardo is the transition. It marks the end of one thing and the beginning
of another. The songs, from moody album opener “I Want A Taste” to surging standout
number “Leave It Alone” to the evocative two-part closer, represent the musicians’ current
mindset and inspirations, pulled cohesively together by their succinct process of creation. It is,
as Mickey says, the band’s real introduction into the world.