Monday, April 18, 2011

ARMS - EP (2010)

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You ever have a moment where you finally realize there's a whole lot more to an album? That happened to me with Brooklyn quartet ARMS' reverb-laden five song EP, the simply titled EP. I know I mentioned it awhile back when I was first introduced to the band (you can see that here) but this week I've listening to the EP non-stop for the last couple days and had a moment of pure enlightenment. EP has a series of interconnected stories bound by the same protagonists and a spooky, otherworldly atmosphere. It's hard to gather the full story since the EP is merely a teaser until ARMS release their "true debut" album Summer Skills later this year but EP is part of a sci-fi/supernatural epic and break up story.

After finding out that the EP is more of a concept album, there's the thought that it loses some of it's magic. Wrong. Todd Goldstein's lyricism while oddly straightforward also contains a certain mystique, and subtle uses of metaphors and symbolism. Goldstein manages to juxtapose seemingly normal everyday activities with rather violent visuals in a quick-fire but lackadaisical manner. Almost making you wonder if you heard his lyrics right. No song is this more evident in than "Heat & Hot Water" where Goldstein's two protagonists manage to escape danger and the first signs of a faltering relationship begin. There's various slice of life moment intercut with references to this beast they brought back with them who continues to grow and mutate as the couple begin to fight and mistrust each other.

The most tragic part about EP is that it's over almost as soon as it's begun. The tales are so interesting that you simply want to know what happens next. Unfortunately, EP doesn't really deliver in that sense. Because it's not supposed to. It's a great re-introduction to Goldstein who's turned ARMS from a solo bedroom project to a full on band. So until the release of Summer Skills, you'll have to make do with the EP. Which isn't too bad of a consolation anyway.

Listen to the EP via ARMS' Bandcamp.

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