The Arcana
Pastel Painted People in Candy Coloured Crowds



by ultrabluecat USER (3 Reviews)
February 17th, 2023 | 2 replies

Release Date: 01/31/2023 | Tracklist

Review Summary: 5 star starter (Here endeth the lesson)

If there's one thing that can be said about any album released by The Arcana it's that it's form and character differs dramatically from the previous one. Yet the style and sound are indisputably The Arcana. I Liken it to the various phases in the work of artists such as Paul Cézanne and Vincent van Gogh, both of whom made radical changes to the development of art in the 19th Centuary, which was reflected in their own change in attitude towards art. Nevertheless, with each change came another masterpiece.

Certainly the first thing that strikes about Pastel Painted People in Candy Coloured Crowds is the album artwork. Slightly toned down in color compared with albums such as Mesmer Theatre and Lemon Freddy Phantom of the Sky but busy in other ways and, as usual, thought provoking. Who are the 'pastel painted people'? The figures grouped pointing to the sky are in silhouette, but are 'they' the people the title is referring to? And the title itself: could it be a reference to the band, or the listeners or just society in general? Perhaps the the title track explains it away? Although it does feel like a finger is being pointed at 'me'.

The first two tracks on the album Storyboard and When the Light Shines Over You nearly sucks you into believing that a more heavier style is being adopted. One could easily imagine Lenny Kravitz pounding out Storyboard, but perhaps without the finesse of Peter Lennodo's voice. Again, When the Light Shines Over You possesses a more aggressive edge tempered in the bridge section with some rather harsh sounding violins. These little twists, common with many of The Arcana's songs are developed in new ways on this album, particularly during the fade-outs.

In our 'not quite' post-pandemic times, A song of unrequited love Finally Fade Away appears to harken back to a simpler time of romance, much of which seems to be still absent in the 2020s. Observational in it's description and theme portrays a time when just walking past someone in the street regularly could be considered as a love affair. Famous for their orchestral arrangements Every Mountain might easily be something that would feature at the beginning of a 'Bond' movie. The Orchestral arrangement is stunning and stands, for me, as the pinnacle of the album. What the song lacks in electric guitars and drums makes up for in grandiose orchestral arrangements. I Can See You Today is clearly a post-pandemic statement of renewal - a phoenix emerging from a great fire that's not over yet. If anything, our world today is probably in most tumulus since the WWII and Where I Want To Go is in some part a refusal to submit to today's world ideology of towing-the-line. As I commented at the beginning, The Arcana are not adverse to venturing into uncharted waters and She Said Nothing is it. Suddenly the band develop an interest in the jazz genre. The bridge is pure 'Bill Evans' as is the fadeout. It's the story of a woman on the edge of a nervous breakdown. I'm not sure if she dies in the end - I like to think not. There appears to be a few love songs on this album and And I Like You is unequivocally a song for pure lovers. Lyrically sentimental in the style of 'boy' meets 'girl' but musically it escapes this more trite association and has of the most beautiful acoustic guitaring on any of their albums. There's always a least one 'feel-good' song in The Arcana's repertoire and Lifetime could be considered as the one happy-go-lucky song. Which is just as well as the title track seem to get straight to the point. The final song on the album Pastel Painted People in Candy Coloured Crowds has two definite sections. The first part feels like another ballad is about to kick in until it reignites with the kind of guitar Eddie Van Halen would have been proud of creating - God rest his soul. And here endeth the lesson.

It's no lie to say that I have been following The Arcana's progress since the release of Tomorrow is Yesterday and with each successive release their style has developed in some of the most curious ways. Pastel Painted People in Candy Coloured Crowds is the group's fourth album and it's certainly their most interesting and forward-looking album to date. It's a 2023 album that reflects on the past and speculates on the future. The quizzical title, fascinating artwork and broad interpretation of a number of musical genres makes this album a 5 star starter at the peak of their discography.

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Comments:Add a Comment 
Contributing Reviewer
February 17th 2023


You might want to have a little proofread of this mate, a few spelling errors and instances of unnecessary capitalisation/ incorrect tense. Would list but there’s quite a few, I’m sure you’ll see them when you read it over. A very detailed and thoughtful review nonetheless.

This sounds really interesting though. Never heard of these guys but will definitely be checking out.

February 23rd 2023


Album Rating: 3.5

Pretty good, jammy stuff right here.

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