Based in Bristol, UK Arctic Circle are a 7-piece multi-instrumental pop band led by professional daydreamer Matthew Cheney. Despite this being their first proper album, they have previously existed in various incarnations in both Glasgow and Vancouver. They play like a school orchestra abandoned by its conductor, left alone with the key to the instrument cupboard. Arctic Circle lodge infectious melodies and brittle harmonies so deep into your head that you’ll be whistling their merry tunes as you walk but cursing their name as you try to get to sleep.
They embrace boy/girl vocals and have a box of tricks that includes accordion, clarinet, glockenspiel, effects pedals, pan lids, melodica, analogue electronics and all the rest.
At live gigs the stage often resembles a jumble sale, echoing their love of homespun aesthetics and languid afternoons. Their humdrum lyrics tinker with domesticity and pithy politics yet they somehow unearth the poetics of yearning that lurks deep within the washing up. Musically, they knuckle down and waft away, soaring up above the terracotta in a haze of triumphant psychedelic glory.
Arctic Circle pride themselves on only once having been told to keep it down by neighbours. Instead a pair of feet usually appear underneath the garage door where they practice, and those feet are at the end of a pair of legs, and those legs head north up to a neck, and the neck leads to a mouth and the words waiting in that mouth are “can I join?”
This is how there came to be 7.
But like the tortoise they’ll get there in the end – no pushing, no shoving, no underhand tactics, just a good clean show.
3rd Album (released March 2007)