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The Arm
The Arm
Last Gasp Records
www.lastgasprecords.com/thearm.html


The Arm just attacks from the first track, with pulsing beats and half-sung, half-yelled vocal lines that push the momentum and feel to a completely enjoyable level. The bass just pops along, while minimalistic guitar/keyboard lines add texture to the whole; the overall mix works so well because it never tries to be anything big, but achieves an even greater standing despite itself.

Rightly, this band shouldn't even draw a second glance because of their particular approach to music, but they end up superceding any preconceived notions of song craft to create something addictive and nonsensical. Somehow the tongue-in-cheekness of the songs lends itself to the material, creating an almost Aquabats or Devo approach which totally works in their favor. Not that they sound anything like those bands - they do have that 80's synth rock feel, but the comparisons stop there.

Lyrically the band throws many quips at the listener, even going so far as to say in "Song automatic 1-2-3!" "We love originality/Good artists make/Great artists steal/Good evening, we are not The Fall". It is these subtle twists of logic sparsed throughout each song that keep me smiling while I listen.

Have you noticed yet how all of the song titles have exclamation points ending them? It is totally required too, because there is just that much energy spilling off of each song. "Bright young men!" is probably my favorite track for its sheer movement and sentiment and "Give up while you're young!" maintains nice ambiance. Really, there is not a bad song on this album, even though the production sounds closer to a live recording.

The Arm converted me into an avid listener after a couple of times through, they are definitely worth picking up and savoring. Enjoy!

-bishop

Track listing:
1) You're a Winner!
2) Get Down with the Death of the City!
3) Bright Young Men!
4) D-Stessed!
5) Song Automatic 1-2-3!
6) Age of Consent!
7) Robots vs. The Arm!
Give Up While You're Young!


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Mike Doughty



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