Music

Arca - "Urchin" (Singles Going Steady)

Song of the year so far, says Timothy Gabriele.

Timothy Gabriele: Arca is infinitely fascinating and at this stage I will follow him just about anywhere. I haven’t been quite as impressed with his sound-collage LPs as his early short-lengths and collaborations with FKA Twigs. Part of this is that I feel his focus on the whole of each long player somewhat detracts from the standout moments scattered within. Luckily, “Urchin” is vibrant and strong as a standalone single, lurching and languishing in equal stretches, but this time simultaneously rather than in fragmented pieces. Likewise, melody and detailing don’t compete, but collaborate in the mix. The melancholy chords and the deteriorative production flourishes compound the deep emotional beauty at the heart of this tune, as does the violent rhythmic pulsations that quake throughout. Song of the year so far. [9/10]

Dustin Ragucos: There's a lot of promise in this Arca release, mostly due to how the artist strikes a nice balance between abrasive and light. The title track from Mutant had its level of ear-piercing insanity that warranted a closer listen to the different facets within the artist's particular sound. "Urchin" exchanges the intensity within a track like "Mutant" for elephantine dance steps and a behemoth-like breathing, both appropriate elements to submerge within an Arca song. Where piano keys, especially light ones, can feel contrived in a soundscape of hadal darkness, the track does its best to break structure and familiarity. [7/10]

John Garratt: Arca has built an attractive template for a song, but seems to have stopped there. All build-up with no sense of arrival, "Urchin" needs a little more time in the oven before being offered as an exclusive SoundCloud download. Until then, it can serve as a short interlude on an album, the kind Martin L. Gore and company used to do. [6/10]

Jordan Blum: I like the angelic devastation of the opening echoes; it’s intense, symphonic, and tragic. The looped percussion is dissonant and fierce, so it contrasts well with the foundation. It does get a bit repetitive, though, even with the addition of piano and the few deviations. It seems more suited as the background audio of a horror and/or sci-fi film than as an isolated listening experience. In other words, it’s not musical enough to warrant enduring on its own, but it’s certainly interesting and affective as a vibrant, nightmarish foray into industrial/synth tapestries. [6/10]

SCORE: 7.00

Music


Books


Film


Recent
Music

Dancing in the Street: Our 25 Favorite Motown Singles

Detroit's Motown Records will forever be important as both a hit factory and an African American-owned label that achieved massive mainstream success and influence. We select our 25 favorite singles from the "Sound of Young America".

Music

The Durutti Column's 'Vini Reilly' Is the Post-Punk's Band's Definitive Statement

Mancunian guitarist/texturalist Vini Reilly parlayed the momentum from his famous Morrissey collaboration into an essential, definitive statement for the Durutti Column.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

What Will Come? COVID-19 and the Politics of Economic Depression

The financial crash of 2008-2010 reemphasized that traumatic economic shifts drive political change, so what might we imagine — or fear — will emerge from the COVID-19 depression?

Music

Datura4 Take Us Down the "West Coast Highway Cosmic" (premiere)

Australia's Datura4 deliver a highway anthem for a new generation with "West Coast Highway Cosmic". Take a trip without leaving the couch.

Music

Teddy Thompson Sings About Love on 'Heartbreaker Please'

Teddy Thompson's Heartbreaker Please raises one's spirits by accepting the end as a new beginning. He's re-joining the world and out looking for love.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Little Protests Everywhere

Wherever you are, let's invite our neighbors not to look away from police violence against African Americans and others. Let's encourage them not to forget about George Floyd and so many before him.

Music

Carey Mercer's New Band Soft Plastics Score Big with Debut '5 Dreams'

Two years after Frog Eyes dissolved, Carey Mercer is back with a new band, Soft Plastics. 5 Dreams and Mercer's surreal sense of incongruity should be welcomed with open arms and open ears.

Music

Sondre Lerche Rewards 'Patience' with Clever and Sophisticated Indie Pop

Patience joins its predecessors, Please and Pleasure, to form a loose trilogy that stands as the finest work of Sondre Lerche's career.

Film

Ruben Fleischer's 'Venom' Has No Bite

Ruben Fleischer's toothless antihero film, Venom is like a blockbuster from 15 years earlier: one-dimensional, loose plot, inconsistent tone, and packaged in the least-offensive, most mass appeal way possible. Sigh.

Books

Cordelia Strube's 'Misconduct of the Heart' Palpitates with Dysfunction

Cordelia Strube's 11th novel, Misconduct of the Heart, depicts trauma survivors in a form that's compelling but difficult to digest.

Music

Reaching For the Vibe: Sonic Boom Fears for the Planet on 'All Things Being Equal'

Sonic Boom is Peter Kember, a veteran of 1980s indie space rockers Spacemen 3, as well as Spectrum, E.A.R., and a whole bunch of other fascinating stuff. On his first solo album in 30 years, he urges us all to take our foot off the gas pedal.

Film

Old British Films, Boring? Pshaw!

The passage of time tends to make old films more interesting, such as these seven films of the late '40s and '50s from British directors John Boulting, Carol Reed, David Lean, Anthony Kimmins, Charles Frend, Guy Hamilton, and Leslie Norman.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.