Joseph Arthur - Our Shadows Will Remain
Review by Jack Foley
JOSEPH Arthur is one of America’s most respected and best-reviewed singer-songwriters.
His second album, Redemption’s Son, made numerous critics’ Best of 2002 lists, while his follow-up, Our Shadows Will Remain, took the States by storm when it was released in late 2004.
Once again, it made numerous top ten lists, with Rolling Stone declaring it to be ‘as good as music gets’ and Entertainment Weekly placing it among the albums of the year.
It’s fair to say that Our Shadows Will Remain is worthy of such acclaim, confirming Arthur’s reputation as one of the most talented artists you’ve probably never heard about.
Right from the start, the album resonates with a powerful and emotive beauty; a sort of alternative-rock that evokes comparisons with the likes of Beck, but with a style that’s distinctly his own.
It can be edgy and dark, but it can also be laidback and beautiful, expertly mixing a selection of melodies and beats that seem tailor-made for any mood.
Highlights include the powerful Devil’s Broom, a sublime rock track that finds Arthur in typically candid mood (lyrics include why can’t you see, you mean everything to me’), complete with some terrific guitar riffs, solos and a genuinely thrilling chorus.
While the moving Echo Park brings things down a notch with a mournful yet compelling melody and some truly beautiful sentiments.
Can’t Exist, with its classic style and rich layers, is another gem, building towards an epic, guitar-driven chorus.
While the chilled out beats of Even Tho unfold into another melancholy masterpiece – an achingly heartfelt record that’s rich with strings and tender desperation.
Interestingly, Arthur adopted a different approach to Our Shadows Will Remain, moving from his apartment/home studio on East 22nd Street in Manhattan to New Orleans, which seemed to offer a different form of inspiration.
The result is an epic album that rates among the most ambitious and richly orchestrated of his career.
Every track leaves a lasting impression and you’ll have trouble removing it from the CD player once you’ve heard it a couple of times.
Expect it to emulate its American success and make the year best lists of countless UK critics – it’s already in mine.
1. In Ohio
2. Can’t Exist
3. Stumble and Pain
4. Devil’s Broom
5. Echo Park
6. Even Tho
10. I Am
11. Smile That Explodes
12. Leave Us Alone