Arbor Day writes urban, three-minute symphonies to god. Their melodies, always front and center, soar the same heights as Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys, but are grounded in the dirty truths and musical heritage of the group's New York City home. Combining unabashedly melodic vocals and classic Burt Bacharach horns with chugging, discordant guitars, white noise, and a Theremin, Arbor Day plays pure pop music at its grandest and most transcendent, concise and powerful, lost in time and place but never meaning.
If Arbor Day were British, its members would have met in art school. Instead, Dileepan Ganesan (vocals, guitar), Joe Hasan (bass), Dan Rosato (drums) and Andy Levine (horns, Theremin, tambourine, etc.), met in 1999 at New York University, the next best thing (keyboardist/ guitarist Alex Farrill joined the group at a later date). The group- music obsessives in the best sense of the word- formed around a common love of 20th century American music, their record collections covering everything from the avant-garde and be-bop movements of the 40s and 50s to California pop, New York punk and new wave, 80s no wave and post-punk and 90s indie rock.
The dark clubs of New York were the only place to start. By now, Arbor Day has played most of them, including the Mercury Lounge, the Knitting Factory, Pianos, Northsix, Southpaw, Sin-È, Maxwell's and the Luna Lounge. On these stages, the band has shared bills with of Montreal, Willy Mason, Head of Femur, Tilly & the Wall, The Kingsbury Manx and Great Lakes.
Arbor Day's 2002 debut, the shimmering, six-song Radar Boy was well received in the Village Voice and Time Out New York. The EP spawned club hits with the shuffling 'Duran Duran' and the anthem 'Vegetable,' in which Ganesan croons surreal lyrics above intricate layers of guitars and horns, the song building to an impressive coda before vanishing into nothing. Where Radar Boy left off, the group's forthcoming 7" single on Awesometown Records and extended play disc (both mixed by Blake Douglas) picks up the lead, seeing the quintet progress to sounds and moods such as "This Misery," two minutes and forty seconds of haunting melody, chords and lyrics that conjure up the Wall of Sound at night.
Arbor Day has one objective in mind: an update and reaffirmation of classic pop music for the new era.