Review Summary: Deciphering white noise
I’ll admit that on first listen of the new album from The Armed I thought it would be great to be used as audio torture sounds for interrogation. But with more listens the mystery that is ‘Only Love’ unravels.
As well as somewhat keeping with their hardcore sound with this record they are also pushing themselves with more of inclusion of electronics too. The creative decision made with the electronics and thematic and stylistic choices give this album a slight mainstream pop sensibility but still holding on to their abrasion. It’s this combination that makes this album so relentless and interesting; how they can make a record so claustrophobic in sound but also so glittered and gorgeous in moments too.
Songs like ‘Witness’ blast through un-apologetically and without compromise which then bleeds into ‘Role Models’ for a more of a down beat track and slightly fatigued in its approach. It still has its moments with its crazy modulated guitar section towards the front of the track as well as being carried for the majority with relentless electronic beats with both screamed and sung vocals weaving in and out of each other.
When it gets to ‘Apperception’ it’s when The Armed could be at their most hectic where the electronics are at their most incestuous with the guitars and drums. The first half ends with ‘Fortunes Daughter’ with its subdued catchy clean vocal chorus. The last half of the record seems to be more focused on The Arms way of building layers and stretching out their composition chops such as with tracks ‘Luxury Themes’ and ‘On Jupiter’.
The Armed has a created an album that on first listens questions everything palatable and their uncompromising production choices. It may seem hard to believe something like this could work combining such very opposing styles but still making it seem catchy and anthemic in places that seem impossible. Given the time and patients to decipher the album it will become apparent that this could be one of the most rewarding albums to spend time with and one of the most unique listening experiences of the year.