Material: Notable standouts in the set were “Out of My Head,” and “The Western.” The latter specifically was so charming in its theatricality that it was a shame to not hear more like it. The group clearly has its niche, but it would be incredible to see them expand beyond it. Taking influences from Joni Mitchell or Nickel Creek, introducing brass or more intriguing harmonies, would take obvious radio-gold songs like “Kill In The Cure” and make it stadium level royalty. Outside of this, enunciation is key.
Musicianship: Excellent players all around. The arrangements of each song made for a smooth sonic experience. Not a part was out of place. Jocelyn may benefit from placing some vibrato on those long notes, build to the loudest note instead of starting at it; but even if she didn’t, it would still be wonderful to behold. The group as a whole needs to capture that splendid theatricality that they’re right on the brink of. Talent is one thing, and they have it. But figuring out how they’d want someone to describe their live act, and then pursuing that methodically and carefully, will take them beyond talent.
Performance: The performance was so seamless that finding imperfections was next to impossible without seeming nitpicky. Anything that could be spoken about would be so minor that a standard audience member would never notice. The players executed perfectly, drawing the audience toward them in the intimate space. The Standard provided an enthralling backdrop for the performers like a snapshot created just for them. In the interest of critique, however, Jocelyn’s voice is unique and impactful but could benefit from varied textures just for the sake of variety. More involvement from Chris would make a world of difference as well.
Overall: An apology must be given to Chris and Jocelyn Arndt, as there is very little that can be offered at this current stage. The songs are top-notch, groovy and compelling. The arrangements are dynamic and unique. The talent is striking and impressive. All that’s left to do is make it perfect. Making sure to convey the lyrics of the stories you’re telling, adding the element of theatrical performance, leaning into the interesting and visceral elements of songs you may consider strange, and making a big enough fuss so people will hear it. Once people know you’re there, they’ll come running.
Players: Jocelyn Arndt, vocals; Chris Ardnt, guitar; David Bourgeois, percussion; Dan Zavali, bass