Crumbling Arches
Gig Seeker Pro

Crumbling Arches

Band Alternative


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Crumbling Arches Live Review : Thursday, Jan. 29 @ American Tavern"

Crumbling Arches packed a lot of action onto a small stage at American Tavern as they began their residency Thursday night. The show included three explosive sets containing the majority of the progressive alternative rock band’s catalogue.

Alexander McKelvey and Brian McGaw provide two guitars and two entirely different voices for Crumbling Arches that, when combined, create an incredible melodic power. Either voice can stand alone, but together they are an unstoppable, overlapping force. They harmonize uniquely, much like the other matchless qualities of the band. Ian Hennessee contributes an energetic bass line and ready smile while his brother Zachary constantly drives the songs with explosive drums. During some of the songs, the guitars crash exuberantly right alongside the drums in barely controlled fury while others lend themselves to slow and expertly used minor chords. An occasional keyboard appears at the right moment, for a more reflective moment. The complexity of the song structures set Crumbling Arches apart from your typical house band and will make for a unique residency.

Crumbling Arches filled the night with addictive hooks and sudden changes built into the music. They meander through some of their beginnings and then the lyrics start shooting out so fast that they mystify your ears and make your head spin. They are masters of infectious beats that grow from the first second and then break wide open. A song about a man climbing the side of a volcano begins slowly, reminiscent of The Doors “Riders on the Storm,” and then explodes during the middle, taking an unexpected turn that continues like a roller coaster through the rest of the song. Another song details a man who takes a hatchet to his home to build a boat from the pieces, relating to their concept album, The Somnambulist. In between songs they are conversational, showcasing a great sense of humor while they tell the stories behind their lyrics. The first set covered more songs “that are more difficult to listen to,” quipped McGaw, but he couldn’t be further from the truth. The songs were long and filled with complicated twists and turns, but captivating. McKelvey dubbed the second set the “Empire Strikes Back” of the trio, and it was the all-around favorite of the night. The third dissolved into a party that rocked the house. “Miseratte,” “My Ressurection,” “Vampire Sex Song,” “Hibakusha” and, especially, “Agnostic Picnic” were some of the glittering hits of Thursday night’s performance.

The night was a continual alternative frat party that everyone wants to remember. Crumbling Arches and their show are constructed on contrasts; none of these things should work by themselves but they meld in synchronicity. This band may have discovered its perfect fit in the residency with American Tavern, so be sure to check them out the last Thursday of every month. - Flagpole Magazine

"Crumbling Arches - The Somnambulist"

The first full-length release from Athens’ Crumbling Arches, The Somnambulist, represents two years worth of recording for the band. After releasing two EPs, Crumbling Arches began recording The Somnambulist in 2005. Interestingly enough, Crumbling Arches strove for a concept album for its first full-length.

The concept of The Somnambulist appears to be following a character that has to deal with the many disappointments of growing older, who eventually finds freedom from these disappointments.

The album’s opening track, “The Two-Faced Savior,” begins with the sounds of typing and office building Muzak, creating the picture of a row of cubicles. Crumbling Arches cleverly integrates the noises to become part of the rhythm of the song. The melody of the song features melancholy acoustic guitar combined with haunting vocal harmonies.

This melody fits singer Alexander McKelvy’s lyrics beautifully. McKelvy sings of broken dreams, “A child chased a fantasy and barked his boyhood battle cries through a cemetery of cubicles and bloodshot eyes / A businessman rebuked the child for his whimsical behavior / Ironically, The Corporate Corpse was chastising its savior.”

“Two-Faced Savior” is a powerful song that removes any doubt of Crumbling Arches being over-ambitious with their first full-length album.

Later, Crumbling Arches shifts its focus to failed relationships. On “DJ Dormio,” McKelvy sings, “She’s your anchor, my boy / A well-intentioned decoy, immersed in social guidelines.”

“DJ Dormio” also shows Crumbling Arches diverse songwriting skills. Despite the dark subject matter, the song features a dance-beat that gives it an incredible pop sound.

At other points on the album, Crumbling Arches adopts a theatrical sound. “The Preachings Of Priamides,” is similar to the theatrical sound of bands like The Killers. Often on this song, as well as many others on the album, McKelvy’s vocals draw comparison to Incubus’ Brandon Boyd. “The Rally of Don Jacobin” and “Mundane Patterns” also share this sound.

“The Somnambulist” is an ambitious album filled with catchy, story-telling songs. Crumbling Arches’ two years of work was well worth it. (Self-released) - Performer Magazine

"The Somnambulist Album Review"

Writing a review for an album like this is difficult. Having known these guys for a considerable amount of time, and having plugged them for years, I find it hard to not simply say, “These guys shit gold,” and call it a day. So in order to not a have a completely biased review, I’ll do everything in my power to make it fair and realistic.

Crumbling Arches, as we know them today, formed in Atlanta, GA in 2002 when the members began high school. The band brings multiple genres to the table as well as confidence, having recently gone as far as to play an entire show blindfolded. After releasing multiple EPs they finally began the production of their debut full length, The Somnambulist.

The Somnambulist, recorded in Tree Sound Studios in Atlanta, GA and produced by John Holmes is a concept album. Recently, there seem to be plenty of bands releasing concept albums, and it’s quickly becoming old news, but few of those albums make an impression like this. From the almost comic book-esque cover art to the fantastic tracks, this album is a great listen. It tells the story of a man who has a menial desk job and a mundane life, and he decides to break his “chains” to normality. The man destroys his house and belongings, then uses them to build a boat to sail to sea. But every story needs supporting characters, right? That spot is easily filled with characters like Señor Nonchalant, DJ Dormio, and many more who add to the plot and depth of the story. This album is definitely a fun ride.

Things kicks off with “Ballad Part 1: Two-Faced Savior,” a slow track that starts with a computer keyboard as percussion to reinforce the setting, and moves to a string filled climax. It continues with the single worthy,“Voice of Reason,” a song that wields a catchy chorus as it’s weapon of choice. “DJ Dormio” brings a techno-dance vibe to the table, and could easily be a fan favorite with its danceability (if that’s a word) and humorous lyrics:

“Sup, thanks for tuning into DJ Dormio, and his talk show radio / Late night stress you can’t suppress / You’ll be dually addressed”

The fifth track, “My Resurrection” is the lowest point of the album. With the repetitive pre-chorus and almost whiny vocals, the song can rattle the nerves after a few listens. However, a kazoo solo in the bridge does bring something to the track's repertoire. The following track “The Rally of Don Jocabin” is the first to feature Brian McGaw on vocals, who has a more melodic voice than fellow vocalist Alex Mckelvey and is the better of the two. Coupled with the next track, “Mundane Patterns,” they are easily two of the better tracks on the album. They deliver clever riffs and catchy lyrics (“Sorry friends, I must make my exit here / The back roads suit me just fine”) added to quality harmonies that make them standouts.

Another “Ballad” and an interlude later, two more character pieces come up. “Senor Nonchalant,” the Hispanic themed rocker, and “Miseratte,” the guitar laden track in the vein of Gatsby’s American Dream. After the final “Ballad” the album comes to a close with the final two tracks, "Organic Debris" and "Looking Forward to Never Looking Back", and the ending to the story (which I won’t give away).

So, fourteen songs later, how do I feel? Great. Similar to that feeling after watching a big summer blockbuster. Pumped about the great action and story, a little sad it’s over, and excited over the prospect of a sequel. The band manages to do something that only a few bands have accomplished in 2007: making an album that’s fun and easy to listen to from beginning to end. Crumbling Arches are still young and just getting started, but with one of the best rhythm sections in the genre, insane harmonies, and their creative, original songs, they are going places. Perfection is hard to achieve, but these guys come awfully close. -

"Band Hits Stage, Prepares to Release New Album"

Walk into Tasty World tonight, and you'll find a band with members once bold enough to play an entire show blindfolded.

Hailing from Sandy Springs, Crumbling Arches has been together for about six years and uses crazy antics to keep the audience's attention.

"It's really about people having a good time, and that's why we do some new theatrics and stuff like that," said Brian McGaw, who performs vocals, guitar and keyboard for the band. "We want people to leave with the feeling that they got their money's worth."

The members went to different high schools and now are attending different colleges, with two at the University and the remaining members at Oxford College of Emory University.

"We had a pretty strong fanbase in high school, so we're trying to rebuild it in college," said McGaw, a sophomore majoring in Digital Media.

Describing the music of Crumbling Arches is not easy, with the group drawing from a variety of influences.

"We are a mix between System of a Down harmonies and Flaming Lips show theatrics, but usually we're softer than that kind of music," McGaw said. "We try and create music that is kind of eclectic at the same time."

Curiously enough, the band's name has nothing to do with the University's famed symbol, but rather is based on the idea of an arch being the strongest of all the architectural structures and the strong imagery a crumbling arch produces.

"It's kind of like the evanescence of time and the way that everything is fleeting," McGaw said. "We try and capture some of those ideas in our lyrics."

Such is the case with their upcoming concept album, which is nearing completion and tells the story of a character that is unhappy with his dull life working at a desk job, so he gets a hatchet and cuts down his house, using the wood pieces to build a boat.

"The general idea is that your life is passing you by and it's time for you to take hold of it and follow your dreams," McGaw said, adding that the band plans to release the album within the next three months.

And that blindfold thing? Just another day at the office for this quartet, who ended a show with two people sharing a pair of size 64 waist pants and likely will continue the unexpected tricks tonight.

"We've been known to do confetti cannons and have people dressed up as vegetables dancing on stage," McGaw said. - The Red And Black (UGA Paper)


Agnostic Picnic EP (2008)
The Somnambulist (2007)
Captain Holmes and the Whale of Time EP (2005)
Cambodian Visa EP (2004)



Crumbling Arches is attempting to take the generally negative musical term "inconsistent" and put a positive twist on it. Within the course of one song you may have a section with attractive melodies full of layered vocals move into dissonant breakdowns with chromatic eruptions which then stomps itself into finger-picked-guitar outros that sound like they might be the backdrop of a “Little House on the Prairie” episode.

Even more obvious than that is the irreverent inconsistency between the songs themselves. Flagpole Magazine recently commented: "Crumbling Arches is the latest example of a local band that, in an attempt to showcase its diversity of sounds, throws everything against the wall to see what sticks. And, judging from the tracks on The Somnambulist, the band has an awfully sticky wall."

Much like bands like Say Anything or The Bloodhound Gang, their irreverently truthful lyrics tackle the intellect like a Shakespearean poem: they disguise dirty jokes and fatalistic subject matter with clever diction and memorable choruses. Their lyrics are often ballad-like in the sense that they construct situations and stories to help convey ideas. Their song Agnostic Picnic is a reaction to militant evangelists stuffing strict social values down the throats of religious skeptics. It describes a post-rapture world where all the believers are sucked up into heaven and the rest of us are left on earth to party.

In live performances they don't attempt to hide the content of their songs, heavy as it might (or might not) be. There are those that say the members of Crumbling Arches are masters of the on-stage banter, and viewers often get folk-like explanations of what to expect lyrically in the following songs. At their live shows viewers can expect the unexpected as well. Vocalist/guitarist Alex Mckelvey has been known to climb atop the shoulders of drummer Zachary Hennessee for shiva-like drum breaks. When you combine acrobatics like that with the mobile light show that bassist Ian Hennessee controls with his happy-feet, you get an unparalleled live-energy that has built Crumbling Arches a name of its own.

You wouldn't expect it, but the consistently inconsistent style has treated them well. Over the years they've opened for a number of national acts including HelloGoodbye, Thrice, Paramore, Cute is What We Aim For, Hawthorne Heights, Oxford Collapse, and Love As Laughter. They performed at The Warped Tour twice, they beat out more than 2000 bands to get to the US finals of an international music competition called Emergenza, they were featured in a Myspace/Cingular ringtone campaign in 2007 garnering them more than 100,000 plays on myself, and they have performed across the east coast twice.

Now, like many other artists today, they are putting on the DIY hat, and in their new music they are successfully capturing the live energy and genuine sound of Crumbling Arches. This home-grown approach has helped new things stick to their wall; the company Ingrooves, who handles all of the digital distribution for a number of independent and major labels including Universal Records, added Crumbling Arches to their roster last year. Atlanta based Stickfigure Records has agreed to tangibly distribute their album throughout the southeast as well. Considering that they have been stockpiling glue since 2004, we can expect Crumbling Arches to catch some big things next year. Crumbling Arches is neat.