By: Gracie Roberts
Livetronica act Arpetrio has broken out with their first full-length album, Barcodes. Hailing from Knoxville, Tennessee, Arpetrio is the brainchild of three inventive college students on a musical mission. Gaining notoriety by sharing the stage with acts such as Shpongle, EOTO, RJD2, and Prefuse 73, Arpetrio experiments with new combinations of sounds and textures, both organic and inorganic, creating a unique experience for audiences at every show.
Although the group has released two EPs in the past, the three-piece believes they’ve really hit their sonic stride with this release. As a group that incorporates both classic rock and electronic dance music into their sound, Arpetrio strives for a modern, electronic sound while also keeping their jam-band roots intact. Guitar and synth player Alex Mindermann, bassist Trent Little, and drummer Wes Taylor have found an unlikely marriage of these two genres, and the result is the distinctive sound present throughout Barcodes’ lengthy thirteen tracks.
The album opens with “Settle Down,” a textbook example of Arpetrio’s uplifting, laid-back sound. Listeners feel as if they were at an outdoor rock concert, but the distinct synth lines return them to an electronic state of mind.
“Barcodes,” the album’s title track, is a piece of easy listening appropriate for any pair of ears. Arpetrio manages to encompass intense synth melodies while maintaining their relaxed, jam-out feel. The smooth vibrations continue through tracks “Marvel Flux” parts 1 and 2 and “Excitamine,” allowing listeners to fall into a chilled-out, blissful state.
One of the album’s standout tracks, “Ponder,” is the combination of guitar riffs, cheery synth lines, and the power of live drums put to work. This cut demonstrates the versatility of Arpetrio’s brand—their sound is appropriate for nearly any type of occasion. Although rock-heavy, the dreamy synths never cease to keep the listener in good spirits.
The album closes with tracks “Scratching The Purpose” parts 1 and 2. These tracks, along with “Emotion Deficiency,” reveal Arpetrio’s striking talent for creating progressive music. Although these tracks incorporate melodies that range from dark to cheerful, the overarching effect is relaxed contemplation.
Any listener interested in either rock or electronic dance music will be surprised with what Arpetrio’s Barcodes has in store. Pulling from vastly differing genres, Arpetrio has produced a sound that is difficult to replicate, but easy to enjoy.