When The Black Keys’ guitarist Dan Auerbach announced yet another side project in early 2015, it didn’t come as a surprise to anyone familiar with the well-versed Bluesman. A regular producer for acts as varied as Dr. John and Lucinda Williams, Auerbach is no stranger to musicality from across the spectrum. But though The Arcs’ debut Yours, Dreamily doesn’t really add to the formula Auerbach has popularized alongside his Black Keys brother Patrick Carney, it doesn’t necessarily need to.
Auerbach and crew pushed lead single “Outta My Mind” heavily leading up the album’s release, but also get it out of the way early as the LP’s introduction to set the pace for a lengthy set rife with intrigue. Recalling the Blues-Rock groove of The Black Keys’ “Fever,” it’s the perfect hook for a solid album. The otherworldly trippiness of its follow-up “Put a Flower in Your Pocket” is more in line with what the rest of what Yours, Dreamily holds, standing comfortably alongside Auerbach’s best work. It’s a master class on getting the most out of your instrumentation, a trick the band continues to utilize with aplomb throughout the rest of the album’s 11 songs. Just about every track brings something to the table, from the vampiric chilliness of “Pistol Made of Bones” to the Jazzy sexuality of “Everything You Do (You Do for You).” Auerbach’s versatility is on full display here, as he sings in his gorgeous falsetto on the Curtis Mayfield-esque “Stay in My Corner” one minute before ripping through a fuzz-distorted solo on “The Arc” the next. This album seems destined for greatness throughout its first three quarters, but it unfortunately starts to run out of steam toward the end. “Velvet Ditch” is a rather dull love letter to Mississippi (of all places), “Rosie (Ooh La La)” is a lot more hook than song, and the sexually explicit “Come and Go” is a surprisingly uncomfortable listen as sexual moans accompany a band that sounds suddenly disjointed and distracted. The album ends on a strong note with the piano-laced “Searching the Blue,” but by then it’s hard to forget that Yours, Dreamily’s few weak points threaten to overshadow its many triumphs.