Showing for my love of Austin’s Progressive Rock bands including Opposite Day, Proud Peasant, and the Stop Motion Orchestra, it shows that they have no sign of stopping on where the Texas state will go into next to see what will lie ahead. One of the guitarists that have just had my ears bright up is a guitarist named Zirque Bois D’arc. It’s an alter-ego name for Eric Roach. He has been performing in bands in the Austin area such as; Lick Lick, Baby Got Bacteria, and the bluegrass stylings of The Fencesitters.
Eric himself has been performing since the 1980s with over 100 live acts as a contributing member whilst there is no stop sign for him anywhere as he trucks on powerfully and seeing where he will go to next. Things I Should’ve Done Better is his first solo album. He recorded the music and demoed his compositions four years ago in Los Angeles. And what you are about to hear is a dystopian universe set with hypnotic guitar improvisations from Zirque.
He brought along people such as Sam Arnold (Opposite Day) on Bass, Drummers David Hobizal (Eddy Hobizal’s brother), Pat Kennedy, and Chuck Fischer (The Invisible Czars), Matt Kelly (Lick Lick) on Organ, and Pianist Peter Stopschinski. Not to mention a Horn and String section on the album. But let’s get straight to the music. The music itself is a haunting, surreal, avant-garde, and experimental voyage into the world that’s was once peaceful, turned into hell.
And Eric’s music sets the atmosphere of where he takes his guitar into those areas. There are 15 compositions on the album that just take me by surprise throughout the entire structure, almost as if he's following in the footsteps of Danny Elfman and Fred Frith (Henry Cow). I can hear some of the Rock In Opposition sounds that resembles as if it was recorded in the mid ‘70s that he’s nailed.
On the two tracks, Drive and Shining, he’s channeling Fred’s improvisations and Roger Trigaux (Univers Zero, Present) with a Zappa twist to it. And he’s isn’t showing off, he is really showing his chops and it is bone-chilling that can be alarming and sinister. The galloping and crescendo drumming techniques from David Hobizal and Sam’s bass going into some incredible fretwork that has both a Jaco and Jannick Top flavor to it, shows teamwork.
Gggggg has this underwater funky wah-wah psychedelic groove with a quirky and wacky ride while ASDF features a bluesy calm movement with an alarming horn section before seguing into the thumping unexpected signatures of a Hendrix-sque style that resembles the Axis: Bold as Love-era on Flirt. Experimental, electronic, and classical come together in full circle with News.
The eerie synths, string section, and nightmarish guitar lines just made my arm-hairs going up on where Stopchinski arranged for them to see where Eric wants the strings to head into. Peter knows exactly where the sounds with the chamber-sque beauty to it and a blaring intensity, makes it raw.
This is my fourth time listening to Things I Should’ve Done Better. And Eric Roach really has come into a circle that is now full. And I really had a blast enjoying this album with the virtuosity, Crimson-sque, and unexpected momentum that he’s unleashed this year and his new album, Songs About Russia which I will delve into later on. But his debut album, is a mind-blowing experience that just made me want to play more and more of Eric’s music.
Compelling, Complex, Experimental, and Avant-Garde, Ziroque Bois D’Arc’s debut is an adventurous and energetic.