Arthur & Yu deliver a Lee Hazlewood-invoking debut that is wonderful beyond any expectation.
If you're not already a Lee Hazlewood fan, you should be. That may not be the fairest way to open a review of Arthur & Yu's In Camera, but I'll take any opportunity to talk about Hazlewood I can get. Really though, the reference isn't entirely unwarranted. Arthur & Yu are pretty open about their affinity for Hazlewood's work, and even if they tried to hide it in print that admiration would still be palpably obvious in the easy swagger of their songs. The duo seems about as obsessed with lo-fi fuzz as Hazlewood was with echo, and the end result is affable warmth that's instantaneously ingratiating. The band is too woozy to be twee and more precious than would have been expected from the first release on Sub Pop boss Jonathan Poneman's new label, especially when that label, Hardly Art, is named after a particularly incendiary tune by The Thermals. Assumptions be damned, In Camera is an impressively insular debut as wonderful as any Hazlewood-invoking album should be.