Arcati Crisis is the combination of Philadelphia-based singer-songwriters Peter Marinari and Gina Martinelli - a duo of best friends making unique, harmony-laden, folk-tinged, indie pop music.
For Arcati Crisis, "unique" is more than just an idle adjective: the duo's equal shouldering of lead vocals and guitars makes each song a boy/girl rock duet. On songs like "Apocalyptic Love Song" and "Better" it's often impossible to dissect the band's tightly-knit harmonies and riffs.
Despite similar split duties from single-sex influencers like the Beatles, CSNY, Indigo Girls, and Sleater-Kinney, the nearest analogs to Arcati Crisis's dual-sex dueling vocals are Fleetwood Mac and Jefferson Airplane. No modern, mainstream band can compare with their classic-rock-inspired harmonies. The band's classic influences aren't surprising - a love of music from before their births helped forge a friendship that originated in seventh-grade lunchroom food-fight during a brief, between-tables salvo of peanuts.
Fast friends from that point forward, the pair spent their teenage years attending concerts and acting in school plays, all while Gina taught Peter how to play guitar. Jokingly, they dubbed themselves "Arcati Crisis" - after Gina's first role in a play and Peter's longtime internet nickname.
It wasn't until the summer of 2001 that the tongue-in-cheek name turned into something more. Peter, who had just self-released his first solo record, invited Gina to participate in a daunting once-a-year project - a 24-hour non-stop home-recording session.
After weeks of needling Gina to pen an original song for the session, she showed up with two - "Real End" and "Religion." Along with Peter's "Under My Skin" and "Punk," they unwittingly recorded what would become the core of Arcati Crisis's catalog.
The duo further developed their catalog over two more years of 24-hour sessions, whose frantic preparations spawned many of Gina's tunes, including "Noncommittal," "What'll I Say," and crowd-pleaser "Fisher Price." By 2003 the pair shared a college apartment, convening rehearsals at all hours to co-write future set staples.
Despite their frequent co-writing, Arcati Crisis was still mostly a studio project. That changed in the fall of 2006, when they joined to rehearse for their annual appearance in the Shubin Theatre Holiday Revue and, afterwards, discovered that they didn't want to stop rehearsing.
Starting with Peter's newly penned "Standing" - a bouncy ode to their shared high school travails - Arcati Crisis re-arranged all of their old tunes, each unmistakable in their interlocking guitar parts and intricate harmonies.
Since then, Arcati Crisis has played dozens of featured appearances across Philadelphia at The Rotunda, The Tin Angel, The Dive, TriTone, Blarney South, Zot, and Doc Watson's. They have served as the house band for Set Table, Saxbys Coffee, and the Shubin Theatre, and co-hosted a weekly open mic in University City. They have played arts crawls and music festivals such as Collingswood, NJ's 2nd Saturday series. Their performances are always imbued with the irrepressible joy and charm of best friends making music.
Arcati Crisis continues to add new songs to their repertoire as they increase their profile in the Philadelphia tri-state area. Every time they play to a new crowd, they hear the same comment: "I've never heard harmony like that before!"
Whether it be their decades-spanning friendship or their unmatched male/female harmony, for Arcati Crisis "unique" is more than an adjective - it's their life story.
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