If you are anything like me, seeing or hearing the phrase “arms akimbo” leads to Orange Juice’s “Intuition Told Me (Part 2)”—particularly the lyric, “Here I stand disarmed in limbo / You stand with your arms akimbo”—being trapped in your head. So, it is quite a pleasant shock to discover that Minneapolis-based trio-cum-quartet (The Alarmist’s Eric Lovold recently joined), The Arms Akimbo is not striving for feyness on its self-titled debut. Rather, The band’s sound attaches itself more closely to the definition of the stance rather than an evocation of anything else the name might imply. That is to say, The Arms Akimbo has the posturing, proud snarl of an early Elvis Costello and the Attractions record.
Although front man Nicholas Schaser spent three years in London, as evidenced by the band’s sound and standout track “Stories of England”, his voice carries no trace of grating British affectations that anglophilic American singers are sometimes prone to. Nor does Schaser allow his vocal capabilities to meet the same unpleasant fate that many American power-poppers and others indebted to Costello’s influential sound fall prey to. There is no nasally “Girls” whining, no derivative riffs. All The Arms Akimbo have to offer are ebullient, hooky pop songs and a blazingly sunny future.