They say that talent runs in the family, and this is certainly the case for Jocelyn & Chris Arndt. The two siblings are both students at Harvard and have a strong passion for making music. They just released their LP called Edges on platforms like Spotify, SoundCloud, and iTunes. The Arndts identify as rock artists and refreshingly don’t try to get too fancy labeling their music as a sub genre. They tag team during the writing process and for recording, Jocelyn handles the vocals and keys, Chris plays lead guitar, group member Kate Sgroi plays bass, and David Bourgeois plays drums. Though the artists have management, publicity, booking, and legal representatives on their team, it looks as though they are not affiliated with a record label. Up ahead in 2016, they two will be playing a few dates a month in places like New York State, Virginia, Tennessee, and more.
The most defining characteristic of their music is Jocelyn’s voice; it’s seductive, powerful, distinct, and quite bluesy. She has such a unique vocal timbre that sounds like she’s emulating a once popular vocalist while adding a youthful flair. One complaint or weak aspect of her voice is that each song sounds quite similar. Furthermore, to get the sound she achieves, it sounds like her throat is constricted during certain notes. However, it’s truly impressive that a woman of college age can sing with such passion and emotion. The chorus of More Than I Say I Do is a great example of the powerful emotion she conveys through singing.
The haunting distorted guitar is an element not found in a lot of music today. Chris does a great job improvising little transition licks in between phrases to keep each song’s momentum going. He’s jazzy licks and sweeps sound controlled and have direction. Cut the Cord is a slower tune with heavy emphasis the piano’s block chords and includes a violin in the mix. The texture gets quite light towards the end and the listener can truly appreciate the lyrics before bringing the instruments back. The bluesy nature of their songs is perfectly exemplified in Here to Stay. The song features sax, trumpet, vibes, and a wailing guitar.
The album sounds like a strong compilation of songs that aren’t overproduced, but allow for the rough edges, as per the album title, to shine through. It seems like Jocelyn made a little music on her own in 2014 and 2015, but having her brother working with her seems like a move in the right direction. It’s clear they know how to structure songs and how to incorporate their own compositional elements.
Moving forward, the duo/recording group will need to focus on making music in relation to one another. It sounds as if the players are simply playing in time to cut and dry parts that are quite repetitive. It almost sounds as if Jocelyn and Chris hired a bunch of studio musicians to follow a chart and provide backing materials. There lacks a depth and personality with the other instruments. This sample of songwriting is probably just the beginning and they will probably grow and devote more time to their music once they’ve finished school.
Key Tracks: Here to Stay, Cut the Cord, Hot