Do not dare to cast Che Arthur in any type of delicate or overly sensitive light just because he happens to be both a singer and a songwriter. From the opening strains of Arthur’s second solo album, it is clear that the Austin resident (and onetime member of the now defunct Atombompocketknife)‘s latest work is definitely an immediate and visceral affair. Album opener “Dead Trajectories” commences with grinding guitars and intense vocals and through the album’s ten tracks, Arthur pursues an insistent approach, consistently delivering material which never lacks energy or drive. Arthur has an undeniable ability to fervently and perceptively convey emotion; the depth of conviction and imagery contained in his lyrics seems a hallmark of his work (the words of “Revisionism” and “To the Core” are prime examples). The album’s greatest drawback is the monochromatic current which runs through several tracks. Much of the harder material is unrelenting and even more mellow tracks seem to contain a quality much like a bleak and constant drilling forward. While Arthur is to be admired for consistency, this causes Iron , though only 28 minutes in length, to demand much from the listener. There is no questioning the passion and possibility which lies in Arthur’s work; however, with little space ceded to balance and nuance, Iron certainly leaves room to hone, polish and find improvement.
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// Notes from the Road
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