Friday 14 December 2012

Our Arthur - Humour Me

Album review by KevW

When a press release tells you that something might take a few listens to grow on you, it's usually the record label's polite way of apologising for a rubbish album and hoping that you give it a bit more acclaim than you should; maybe it's just you that doesn't get it. No such problem with this debut album from Bristol-based artist Our Arthur whose album 'Humour Me' isn't, as he points out, a big pop smash, but a record that improves over time. Much here is quite low key and nothing particularly jumps out at you. It's not asking for your attention particularly, more letting you decide whether you want to step into its world.

In that respect it would be easy to pass by; it's not an easy or immediate record, however it is a very good one made by someone who understands music well. The references are bang on: there is the gentle haze of Galaxie 500 about 'The Company They Keep' or 'The Sole Of Your Shoes' and a few tracks do sound like Low. What it boils down to is that Our Arthur is a singer-songwriter, yet one that doesn't behave as you'd expect. Each song is treated as much more than a few chords and some decent lyrics; the production manages the odd feat of being quite minimal and also rich at the same time, adding dreampop techniques and the odd cosmic ray.

Everything here is paired down. The vocals are soft, the guitar is quiet and besides a couple of more upbeat numbers like 'Strange About The Rain' and 'The Tommy Cooper Affiliation Society' it's all very downbeat. 'Humour Me' will take a few goes to sink in, but believe me it's worth it. One comparison that hasn't been made that almost feels perfect for this album is to Yo La Tengo's classic 'And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out', some songs sound similar and it has the same effect. You need to give your time to the album, it's there waiting to be discovered but it's not going to force itself on you. So anyone who does choose to pick up a copy and get to know it will have uncovered a little bit of hidden gold.

Our Arthur's website

Buy the album

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