The Arm

The Arm

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Post-punk has been enjoying something of a revival since the release of Interpol's Turn on the Bright Lights. The Arm are the quintessence of this sound: lean, spare, and acidic. Their heavy use of synth, their deadpan vocal delivery, and their biting lyrical content hark back to New York no wave pioneers Suicide. Every single track on the Arm's eponymous debut is tighter than the last. The economy of their sound, particularly in the vocal tracks, is striking, and is the key to the overall success of the album. Its almost complete lack of pop influence should satisfy the 1977 purists who bemoan the fusion approach of bands like Interpol and Radio 4. Given the band's minimalist approach, there's a surprising amount of variety on the album. "Get Down with the Death of the City!" sounds like robots making synth-heavy Krautrock. The precision of the rhythm, coupled with the hollow, tinny sound of the synthesizer, provides the perfect soundtrack for a coming urban apocalypse. "Song Automatic 1-2-3," is upbeat and perhaps even lighthearted, although this frivolity is belied by the never-ending barrage of clever lyrics and references to the Fall. And "Age of Consent" is a lyrically disturbing, musically disconcerting peek into the back seat of a parked car. There's something about the Arm that will make most listeners a little bit uncomfortable, but that aside, their debut release doesn't have a single bad song on it. It stands out as one of the best releases in the post-punk/art punk genre.

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