It's been four years since A R I Z O N A's last album. The band known for their effervescent melodies and introspective lyrics is back with their third album bearing their name, and it feels like a comeback that was so desperately needed.
"One of the biggest things that kind of gets you into a rut is that an object in motion kind of tends to stay in motion. And vice versa, right? So when we weren't releasing things, and we were working on things constantly, it was just this big, long grind of trying to get everything together but not really having anything out in the world and where you guys go." singer Zachary Charles explains.
Like most bands, A R I Z O N A got hit hard by the pandemic, but they were determined not to fade away. The band was a festival staple before the shutdown, and now that they're back on tour, they're feeling more optimistic than ever. "I think we're all just really happy," he explains, "To finally be in that place again because I think one of the biggest setbacks for us for a long time going through COVID and changing teams label side and then just trying to really take things across the finish line." –
If there's something A R I Z O N A Does well, it's that contrast of personal lyrics and a feel-good pop jam that feels so effortless. The COVID setbacks aside, they know how to make a song that feels like summer. Songs like "Out Of My Head" have these hypnotic looping synths that are so true to the band's signature style, but songs like "Graveyard" show those personal lyrics that hit so hard. "Don't be in a hurry, we all know where we're going," it's easy to sense how the covid setbacks might not just be about the music but their personal lives too.
The band emphasizes that the reason they're able to make a bounce back is their ability to handle the band like a business. "We had a big moment where we were like; obviously this is going to slow down going on tour, and it's obviously going to slow down a lot of things; what kept us motivated, I think, was the idea that we were all really close friends and we have gone through difficult things before. This is obviously a very unique one, but it didn't stop us from our day-to-day lives because this is what we've always done. Together even before I was done."
They work well as a team, and their chemistry and bond translate well to their vision. Songs like "Pressure" and "Dark Skies "have the band in their comfort zone, soaring electric choruses that make it feel like you're flying. The band describes this album as snapshots, some of the songs were recorded during the pandemic, some before, but they really encapsulate moments in time.
"It's kind of what I've been trying to describe it as like lots of different memories, and some of them, I think, are snapshots in time during what the world was kind of going through for two years, kind of with the brain looks like when it's sitting there writing in the middle of a single pandemic in the basement, you know what I mean, just kind of locked up."
"No dreams in the wasteland, couple of kids in the heart of America, wait forever at the station, if you miss the train it ain't gonna wait for you," "Dancing With The Dead" has Springsteen undertones if Bruce went through an electro-pop phase. "Pray To God" ends this album on a high note; it's the perfect close to this book. With a hint of hopefulness, the soaring chorus keeps it upbeat. This album is meant to be heard live in a crowded room, and A R I Z O N A still kept a loyal fanbase that they're ready to get on the road to see.
"We've never done this under that pressure; we've never felt like we had people to please or people to keep around. This was always just a weird little personal side project that ended up connecting with way more people than we thought it would," Charles says, "I think our goals once we've realized that we had that kind of support was just to continue to make the music and create the things just in general that we do and let people make it their own."