Our Arthur has released a new album, and Louder Than War’s Adrian Bloxham likes what he hears, or should I say feels?
“They donât give out awards for good conversations…”
Our Arthur crafts songs to make you feel. This album isnât so much about how the songs sound, itâs more about how the songs make you feel. His voice is emotional, either quiet and peaceful accompanied by an acoustic guitar or louder and more nasal over the instruments in some of the other songs.
The first song, âReputationsâ is soft and gentle, with a quiet strummed guitar and singing. Itâs calming and warm. “All I want is everything,” he sings, and talks about reputation being everything.
âThe Company They Keepâ is sad and low. “Why should I worry at all?” the trumpet playing over the song makes it sound even more mournful. âYou can tell about a person by the company they keepâ, his voice is lush and rich as he sings about what feels like a one night stand.
âStories About How We Never Got Anywhereâ starts with a static hiss and feels more upbeat than the songs before, except the lyrics point to a life wasted, thinking about what was achieved and watching the one you love go before you, the harmonica playing adds a layer of sadness and the message seems to be, “is our life worth anything in the end?”
âStrange About the Rainâ has a deeper voice and a bigger sound with harder guitar and sweeping strings, the drums shuffle along and create something that could be a huge hit.
âThe Gratification Filesâ talks about someone having a box of their ex-lovers photos under the bed, filed in order of how satisfying they were. It takes the sound back to an acoustic guitar and a warm, rough at the edges voice. Itâs about people that are a little bit crazy are also amazing, that thereâs “nothing wrong with the way you feel.”
âThe Sole of Your Shoesâ starts with the hum of feedback, it grows into gentle bass and blues fuzzed guitar to give a sad and lost sound. The voice is low and mournful again, “Left me lost and used.”
âTorn Anorakâ has a busking sound, along with the outside buzz, underneath the strummed guitar; a perfect accompaniment to the strange lyrics. (Nasty Habit) sounds sweet and gentle, but the story it tells is of bullies using football at school to inflict violence, teachers and other players . An upbeat feel to the song, but harrowing lyrics.
âClinging to the Recordsâ is a gentle strum and a breathy voice, about splitting up and holding on to something to keep sane; the realization that youâre not a very nice person inside and not everything is okay. It breaks into an electric guitar solo and then dissolves into a feedback howl.
âThe Southern âRâ/All of You Thingsâ feels sad and lonely, but friends that want something from you all the time are not there when you need them..then the dark voice mourning “What I do with all your things…”
âThe Tommy Cooper Affiliation Societyâ is another hit record. Itâs got strumming guitar, shuffling drums and harmonica. The vocal is more nasal and direct, “easy come easy go, now you see me now you donât, I canât stay.” A long loud guitar break with competing fuzzed out vocals over the top. Then it fades down to disparate sounds and someone talking about trying to revive, I am assuming, the late great Tommy Cooper.
âGood Conversationsâ the way you can meet friends over the years and just slot back into where you left off, the one passing on and the other reflecting on regret and sadness. âYou donât get any awards for good conversationsâ
Our Arthur has crafted a handful of quiet masterpieces and a couple of what could be pop classics. It is at turns a heartwarming and a heartbreaking listen. A soft triumph.
All Words by Adrian Bloxham. More writing by Adrian on Louder Than War can be found here.Â