Ordinarily I find myself dragging my feet on a Monday, lamenting how quickly the last two days have whizzed by and the deadlines I have looming. However, this week I’ve got a spring in my step thanks to Blues Arcadia’s new self-titled debut EP.

I instantly connected with the music from this soul act from Brisbane. While it’s a debut, these guys, including past members of The Bella Reunion, are no strangers to the music scene. Listening to the seven tracks that make up this EP, you feel you’re in good hands. The numbers were recorded live to tape at The Barn Studios, giving them an energy and emotional intensity other studio recordings often lack.

I love the melancholy of “Corner Girls.” I can imagine hearing it in a smoky jazz club late at night after one too many glasses of scotch. After the raw ache of that song, the easy, playful groove of “Take the Money” gives the heart some respite. “Miss Lonely” is pure joy, the kind of track that gets everyone in a club up on their feet and dancing. “Here Comes the Rain” sees Blues Arcadia in performers its most sombre mode. It’s heartbreaking, with crying guitars adding pathos to Alan Boyle’s stunning vocals. The upbeat “Operator Please” brings the mood up before “Time and Again” reminds listeners just how good this band is at crafting a song about loss. It’s a powerhouse, with a rollicking piano, driving drums, and those meaty vocals. The upbeat “Rockin’ Chair” closes the EP with a bang. It’s got a great political message, but with its beefy sax line and danceable beat that message goes down easy.

I don’t ordinarily write about every song on a recording, but there are no filler tracks here. Blues Arcadia has such a great sound, with all the players pulling their weight. Big brass sounds meld beautifully with more delicate instruments like the guitars and piano. Everything works. And with Alan Boyle’s soulfully raw vocals on top, it’s heaven. I’m so glad this is a longer-than-average EP, because I didn’t want it to end. Excuse me while I hit play again.

Blues Arcadia’s self-titled EP drops on November 14. They’re playing the following shows around Queensland in the coming months. Hopefully they won’t leave the rest of Australia waiting too long, because I need to hear these guys live!

12 November 2016 – Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall, Brisbane (FREE)
13 November 2016 – Secret Show – email thebluesarcadia@gmail.com for details
18 November 2016 – The Walrus Club, Toowong (FREE)
19 November 2016 – BASEQ 21st Birthday Bash @ Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall, Brisbane (FREE for BASEQ members)
26 November 2016 – Sonny’s House of Blues, Brisbane (FREE)
2 December 2016 – Sonny’s House of Blues, Brisbane (FREE)
3 December 2016 – The Walrus Club, Toowong (FREE)
10 December 2016 – Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall, Brisbane (FREE)
31 December 2016 – The Royal Mail Hotel, Goodna
14 January 2017 – Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall, Brisbane (FREE)
21 January 2017 – Wolvi Heads Shed, Wolvi
27 January 2017 – Queen Street Mall, Brisbane (FREE)
28 January 2017 – Sonny’s House Of Blues, Brisbane (FREE)
17 February 2017 – Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall, Brisbane (FREE)
25 February 2017 – Sonny’s House Of Blues, Brisbane (FREE)
10 March 2017 – Sonny’s House Of Blues, Brisbane (FREE)
11 March 2017 – Palmwoods Hotel, Palmwoods

Image source: Blues Arcadia Facebook page