If anybody understands the trials and tribulations of growing older and finding your way in life, it’s Arrows in Action. Since 2017, the trio–composed of vocalist and guitarist Victor Viramontes-Pattinson, guitarist Matt Fowler, and drummer Jesse Frimmel–has risen to the top through an EP and many singles. The band is known for both their sound, which is a mix of the electric of the 80s, indie-rock, and alt-pop and their personal lyrics and resonating messages about the coming-of-age experience. Now, the band has released Built to Last: their long-awaited debut album, which serves as the soundtrack for growing up and new beginnings.
The album opens with the heartfelt track “Made For This” which acts as an exciting welcome into the album and the forthcoming listening experience with its upbeat sound and hopeful lyrics. “What was I made for if I wasn’t made for this?” sings Viramontes-Pattinson as he invites fans and listeners to ask themselves the same question and sparks into their hearts the hope of overcoming challenges and believing in themselves. The song foreshadows feeling content with one’s path, accomplishments, and identity, which are all realized by the album’s end. But the band knows that before we can reach such a realization and satisfaction, we must overcome the struggles of life.
The next track is called “Over It”. The song kicks in and brings with it the 80s vibe that makes the band what they are. The song is an anthem about feeling behind everybody else or as if the world is trying to break you down. Then comes “High”, which is a slight departure from the overall sound of the album. This track has more grunge influences and leans, compared to the rest of the album, more towards the heavier side, and suitably so; the act of being stuck in a cycle of being addicted and used to the coldness and toxicity of a romantic interest is not a positive one. It is an experience that is too common within the journey of growing up and maturing, but the band wraps up the negativity into a song that makes you want to jump around and dance to it.
The album reverts back to its familiar funky 80s feel with the track “Entropy”. The track deals with the idea of being in limbo between the familiar and unfamiliar and feeling pulled between the comfort of home and the desire to move forward. “Are we still having fun?” the song asks, to which the answer is a resounding yes as the next song begins with the click and whirr of a tape being inserted and beginning to play. “The Credits” features artists Loveless and Magnolia Park, and, together, the artists create a pop-rock song out of somber lyrics. Fittingly, this sounds like the type of song that would begin to play in a movie scene in which two lovers say goodbye and look back for the last time right before the credits start to roll. Then again, the entire album has a very soundtrack feel and sound to it.
“Put You Through Me” keeps the motif of heartbreak going. The track is the most mellow of the bunch, though not completely void of Arrow in Action’s stylized rock and 80s elements. The song flips the script of “High” as the lyrics deal with the idea of not feeling good enough for the one you love and as if you’ll only cause them pain. This balladesque track serves as a friendly, mellow, and emotional break in the middle of the album before kicking back into electric riffs and funky beats with the song “Learned My Lesson”, which brings to light the fact that mistakes are an inevitable part of one’s journey of progression and self-awareness.
“Wide Eyes” features the rising star band The Home Team. Together, they create a pop-punk reminiscent song about feeling skeptical and questioning everyone and everything. Just like their song “High”, the next track, “Seeing Red”, is another departure from the overall sound of the album. The track is the heaviest on the album and asks “Who are you to tell me my own truth?” This track showcases the versatility of the young band and scratches an itch for fans of Arrows in Action whose music tastes include heavier artists. With aggressive riffs, a breakdown, and screams, the track will have you saying “fuck ‘em” right along with the band. The track acts as an epiphany or turning point in one’s coming-of-age journey in which inhibitions fall away, indecisiveness is assuaged, and things seem to fall into place, and the rest of the album expresses a feeling of calm contentment and feels like the release of a deep breath.
“Beauty in the Fall” starts the descent back down to a calmer atmosphere and marks the reach of maturity. The track encourages listeners to see the positivity in the negative and look back with a smile at all that has been overcome: “I see all the ways that this can end me, but it doesn’t scare me.” “Checking In” acknowledges the harsh reality and bittersweetness of growing up and growing apart from your friends and makes one want to pick up the phone and call the ones you love. “Head in the Clouds” is a hope-filled reminder that one day we will have everything we want and need. “I know I'm gonna get there somehow”, sings Viramontes-Pattinson. The final, and title track, of the album, “Built to Last” begins with an acoustic guitar before kicking into an upbeat anthem of hope and perseverance. “Turns out that my only truth is to grow up and move on”, he sings with a powerful voice full of hope. The ending of the song has a sound reminiscent of a tape being rewound; the story and its soundtrack have reached their endings and the coming-of-age journey has been completed.
It is not surprising that Arrows in Action has had such success since its formation. Built to Last showcases the artistic range of the group while simultaneously establishing themselves as your new favorite do-it-all-band-indie-rock-band-with-an-80s-electric-vibe. On this latest release, Arrows in Action empathizes with the struggles that come with the territory of growing older while proving themselves as a force to be reckoned with and that they are truly built to last.
Catch Arrows in Action On Tour!
July 5 - Dallas, TX - Lone Star Room
July 6 - Austin, TX - Empire Control Room
July 8 - Phoenix, AZ - Crescent Ballroom
July 9 - San Diego, CA - Voodoo Room
July 10 - Los Angeles, CA - The Roxy
July 11 - Berkeley, CA - Cornerstone
July 13 - Vancouver, BC - Fortune Sound Club
July 14 - Portland, OR - Hawthorne Theater
July 15 - Seattle, WA - Vera Project
July 17 - Salt Lake City, UT - Kilby Court
July 18 - Denver, CO - Marquis Theater
July 19 - Kansas City, MO - The Rino
July 21 - Minneapolis MN - Amsterdam
July 22 - Chicago, IL - Subterranean
July 23 - Lakewood, OH - Mahall’s
July 25 - Detroit, MI - The Shelter
July 27 - Buffalo, NY - Mohawk
July 28 - Toronto, ON - Velvet Underground
July 29 - Boston, MA - Brighton Music Hall
July 30 - New York, NY - Gramercy Theater
August 1 - Philadelphia, PA - The Foundry
August 3 - Washington, D.C. - Union Stage
August 4 - Richmond, VA - Canal Club
August 5 - Greensboro, NC - Hangar 1813
August 6 - W. Columbia, SC - New Brookland Tavern
August 8 - Tampa, FL - The Orpheum
August 9 - Orlando, FL - Level 13
August 10 - Atlanta, GA - Purgatory at the Masquerade
August 11 - Nashville, TN - Eastside Bowl