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

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