The Arcs is essentially Dan Auerbach, of The Black Keys, their touring bassists, Richard Swift (who plays drums on this record), and Nick Movshon, the guy who played bass on Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven,” and some other people I’ve never heard of. When it all comes down to it, with the main presence of vocals and songwriting from Auerbach, as well as two other members used to playing with him on tour with The Black Keys, The Arcs is basically just a Black Keys record minus drummer Patrick Carney.
I don’t know how Carney feels about it, I’m sure his nonchalant nature is totally fine with it, but to what Auerbach described as, “get extra weird,” seems pretty commonplace in his catalog to have anyone fooled that it was just a song from the next Black Keys record. Not to create a rift between the two that isn’t there, but if this is Auerbach’s solo material, how much is Carney actually participating in writing the Black Keys’ music? But maybe that’s really it, and I’m not viewing Auerbach and Carney’s careers as fluid as they really are.
“I just wanted to do my thing,” says Auerbach, “I wanted everything to flow, be cohesive. A lot of the songs bleed one into the other, a lot like the Grateful Dead – my favorite records that they did. So I’ve got a lot of connected songs. It’s basically everything I love about music all wrapped up into one record – that’s all!”
While the record still feels pretty Black Keys to me, it does have a certain kind of edge or what I’m going to call “seasoning” that’s different than his usual work, which I think stems from his Grateful Dead influence and the inclusion of Mariachi Flor de Toloache, who adds a kind of latin element to the otherwise almost a 2015 Black Keys record. This influence is most notable through the guitars on, “Outta My Mind” and “Everything You Do (You Do for You),” which take slightly different turns in the choruses than his usual methods.
The best way to describe Auerbach’s character on Yours, Dreamily, would have to be something like: “Western-Misfit-Outlaw-Badass.” While vocally and melodically pretty similar, the difference in guitar progressions might be that one thing to set it apart, especially on “Everything You Do,” which a bit reminds of that weird sample from Watch the Throne that permeates the whole record. The recordings are incredibly crisp sounding, as expected from 2013’s Grammy Award winner for Producer of the Year. But the real winner of the Arcs’ Yours, Dreamily, is that there’s something about Dan Auerbach’s voice that just works for me, just fits into whatever my brain chemistry is where I hear it on a track with Jack White-esque guitar licks that just clicks right. And I don’t think I’m alone on that.