Arid

At the Close of Every Day

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As applied to music, the word "arid" means lifeless. One assumes that the Belgian rock quartet who adopted Arid as its name intended the more popular climatic definition, meaning lacking in moisture. (Probably they are unaware that Arid is also a brand of deodorant.) Or maybe they just meant to be ironic, since Arid's music is neither dull nor dry. On the contrary, it is dynamic and works up quite a sweat. The group develops compelling repeated musical figures on which the basic rock instrumentation is often augmented by a string quartet or other instruments, and then lead singer Jasper Steverlinck emotes over them, his rich tenor, which occasionally suggests U2's Bono or Van Morrison. It can be stirring stuff, though as you listen more closely to what Steverlinck is singing (or follow along on the lyric sheet that takes up nearly all of the CD booklet), you may begin to wonder what he's so upset about. Love comes up frequently, but the singer's English as a second language lyrics can be impenetrable even when they aren' t awkwardly constructed. "She'll soon fled the town," he tells us in "World Weary Eyes," and in "Me and My Melody" asks, "Do you fail to understand what is heartily now?" Well, now that you mention it ...

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