For Glasgow band Arcade State, their journey has been as far removed from linear as you can imagine for a emerging hard rock band.

The collaborative project of brothers Ciaran and Jordan Murray, Arcade State was born when the brothers put sibling rivalry aside and joined forces with their talented pool of friends. Like most bands, lockdown put the breaks on the bands movement, but using their time to build up their reputation online meant they came out the other end of 2021 with a dedicated, eager and ready built fan base, desperate to consume.

Various line-ups and band members later, in 2023 they took the decision to put their sound to plastic with their debut EP ‘A Slave To The Waves‘. Despite delays with the EP pressing and distribution, the brothers were already securing the investment for their debut album. Devastatingly, during the album recording the brothers would face unimaginable tragedy with the loss of their younger sister, Chelsea aged just 23 years old. In the face of tremendous grief, they continued with their musical endeavor, channeling that turbulence into their music and coming away with the poignantly entitled album ‘Life Is Not Linear‘ dedicated to their much loved sister.

Back stronger than ever (let’s not mention quickly retracted ‘we’re splitting up’ announcement, shall we?) with a brand new line up, their biggest headline show yet and of course, a debut album – it’s about time that people take notice and get behind this thunderous band.

Speaking early last year about their impending EP release, Ciaran told us

This EP (A Slave To The Waves) is the end of an era for Arcade State, we wanted to create 4 songs that would showcase our versatility as a band and also introduce more of the direction we want to go with songs like The Lost Boy and the title track A Slave to the waves. So as much as it’s an end to an era it’s the start of something special for us and we aim to kick on from it.

When the anticipated album landed in my inbox late last year, I was excited to hear the result.


Simply, from start to finish, the album delivers magnetically. For fans of fellow Scottish musical icons such as Biffy Clyro and Twin Atlantic or the transatlantic sound of The War On Drugs these listener’s should feel right at home with the familiar sound delivered by Arcade State. Leading in with the poignant ‘I’m feeling lost, in this world’ in the albums opening track ‘Dissonant’, Arcade State get straight to establishing the sentiment of the album to come before switching up gears initiating their heavier side, capturing that sense of loss so painfully. Continuing the momentum with ‘Nothing But War‘ before exploding back in with ‘Thunderstatement‘. Thunder by name and thunder by nature, the track will knock you off your feet with a jump start deafening scream that lead into two and a half minutes of sticking the middle finger up to authority.

Title track ‘Life Is Not Linear’ encapsulates the entire momentum of the album. A ‘quickie’ of a track, but it manages to pack in a mammoth punch that songs twice the length would miss. The sentiment isn’t overlooked either, from what has been a personally turbulent time for this Glasgow band, the song offers perspective and hope for what lies ahead. ‘Life is not linear, it is organic’ fades into the tracks layering – an extract of from a speech by the late Ken Robinson’s of the same moral – bringing the song to timely serenity.

Marking the half way point of the 10 track album is ‘Lost in Your Screams’. A much need lull in the wake of such passionate chaos, this one is a ballad written for the brother’s younger sister, Chelsea; to whom this album is dedicated to. The ballads continue into the second half of the album with ‘My World is Gray’ a duet featuring Scottish singer Kirsteen Harvey. Talking about the song Ciaran shares,

“I wrote when I had just split with my partner of 10 years and it’s almost like a love letter to them even though I knew that door was closing, that whole song came from just completely raw emotions from what I was going through at the time and at that time I thought there was nothing left in the world for me.”

Ciaran’s singing is distinctively his own; comforting tones enriched with authenticity and emotion yet dominant enough to own the stage – or in this case, the speakers you blast it from. Melting together with Kirsteen’s delicate tones, the pair make quite a beautiful sound.

Over the course of the album’s recording, Ciaran and Jordan welcomed the current band line-up with the addition of Cammy and Lewis which reflects their more established sound in this album. Having both been in previous bands “they know the ins and outs of what’s expected”, Ciaran praises. “This band has a ridiculously high standard of what we expect from members and it comes with a lot of sacrifices but they are on the same page as us”

In the wake of heartbreak, latest single ‘Flowers’ manages to convey a message of optimism and growth. Next ‘Lacuna’ really highlights the intensity of drummer Jordan’s abilities. His force and rhythm precision is show-stopping at points, holding together the whole dynamic of the band.

Keeping it melodic this half of the album, ‘The Barrens’ is an excellent example of what Arcade State do best and is comfortably reminiscent of the bands earliest releases such as ‘Splinter’ and ‘Hard To Grow‘.

Asked about the songs running order, Ciaran says,

There’s no real story to be honest , our thought process behind it was putting it together like we would a set for a show. Once we finished recording ‘Dissonant’ we immediately knew that this was our album opener, we then had the idea that we wanted ‘Nothing But War’ to flow into ‘Thunderstatement’ as we had the idea of using the same riff in both songs, but it was more of a teaser of that riff. ‘Lost In Your Screams’ was a good way to close side A and then to open side B we agreed, as a band, it would be perfect with ‘My World Is Grey’. A softer side to us and it shows people a different side to our capabilities, we then thought to bring the energy right back up until we got to ‘The Barrens’ which is quintessential Arcade State. We end on ‘Paper Heart because it’s so different to anything else on the album.

Saving ‘Paper Heart’ to last was a clever decision from the Arcade State boys. From the spine tingling glockenspiel chime in ‘Interlude’ which seamlessly transitions into the same melody in ‘Paper Heart’. The bells continue to chime throughout the track creating a momentum that comes completely crashing down with one of the most beautiful break outs I’ve ever heard. Just wall to wall, high impact, sonically driven guitars thrusting the listener right out their comfort zone; all before returning to the ear worming melody the track lured us into. It’s got everything that Arcade State are capable of and setting the bar of what else if to come.

An outstanding debut album which should not be allowed to go under the radar. Going heavier suits then pretty well. You can buy a copy of the limited edition blue vinyl and bundles on their official store HERE, buy on Apple itunes for just £7.99.

Arcade State are set to celebrate the album release with a special show at Glasgow’s Oran Mor and remaining tickets can be found HERE.