Review Summary: A far more consistent effort by the Brisbane quartet.
2 years after their debut EP, Arrows released an album which is, to many, their crowning moment of accomplishment as a band. It featured a far improved production, a more confident vocal and rhythm section and above all a more advanced composition. There’s more life and emotion than the semi-lifeless record that was their debut and it flows together to make a far improved record. Understandably, the group had matured in the sense that the song material had moved on from songs about love and heartbreak to… songs about love and stable relationships, so in that regard we are left with quiet a small pool of resources.
From the onset, this record utilises a minimalistic approach, which is a point in its favour. There is no needless guitar solos or abusive melodies which overbear the very laid back style. More importantly, you can hear the vibe of the music powering it.
This isn’t music made for anger and frustration, more a relaxed bitterness, as much of a misnomer as that may seem. Whilst vocals still do jump forwards strongly in the mix, they do not take up unnecessary time and space. Some tracks, such as the opener We Only Speak On Weekends
feature barely more than a few lines of lyrics, accentuating at completely appropriate times, and many of the songs lack even the most basic sense of a chorus. This is not an album designed to be a pop-punk-esque emo-fiesta full of catchy lyrics, but a melancholy trip through the bands emotional turmoil. It’s unapologetic, incredibly so. Dynamics are structured in such a manner that they feel like they encapsulate every member’s drama and pain.
It’s really hard to capture the emotion that an album like this invokes as it varies from individual to individual. From my personal perspective, it captures the nights that have been spent alone drinking, just considering the way forward, with no real direction or guidance, as compared to a friend who said that it invokes feelings that relate to her loneliness when her boyfriend left her. It’s really incredible to see a vastly instrumental record have such an effect, and that is where those post-rock elements really come into play, casting a more sombre die into the mix. A comparison that is seen with this band is Explosions in the Sky. And whilst the songs are shorter and less minimalistic, they do have their own style.
The criticism for this would simply space over the repetitive song material, but I’m almost tempted to overlook that, because whilst it can be drab and dull, it wouldn’t convey the same degree of pathos if it scaped other topics. It works, and it works well, so I’m not tempted as I might normally be to hammer the nail in the coffin over it. Some of the songs can get samey if you’re listening to the record in one sitting, but the differences between songs are fairly obvious so this is another small accusation.