About two years ago one of my favorite records ever made came out, it was Joseph Arthur's Our Shadows Will Remain, and something about it just spoke to me. Yeah, I know it doesn't fall under the British norm for that I typically go for, but I have always been a fan of Joseph and his sheer musical (and artistic) talents. Sick of other people always calling the shots and his work mistakably being overlooked in the past, Joseph decided to put out his new record out on his own. Is there anything this guy can't do? In a short amount of time he launched Lonely Astronaut Records with several friends and their first release is his newest venture, Nuclear Daydream.
On first listen of Nuclear Daydream, the thing that stands out the most is how different this album is from Our Shadows Will Remain. While Shadows was atmospheric and grandiose, Nuclear Daydream takes a simpler and more straightforward approach. No, Joseph hasn't gone soft on us; instead he has given us an album that radio must hold onto. Think of it as an almost return to Come To Where I'm From. However, there are some songs that sound like they could have come from the Shadows sessions, such as the first track, "Too Much To Hide," which is an instant crowd pleaser with a catchy hook. On the other end of the spectrum are songs filled with poetic lyrics, like "Black Lexus" and "Nuclear Daydream," that tug at your heartstrings and deal with lost love in typical Joseph Arthur fashion. Then there is the gorgeously crafted "Electrical Storm," with its gentle guitar and piano that sounds so personal, like your own private performance. Joseph then picks it up a notch with the toe-tapping "You Are Free," which includes backing vocals from Kenny Siegal.
One of the best things about Joseph Arthur is his use of layering sounds and vocal harmonies on top of each other. Many singer/songwriter artists do this, but none do it with such perfection and ease as Joseph Arthur. It really translates best in person; as sometimes it is hard to know that it's happening on record until you see it live. You can hear hints of this in "Woman" as well as all over the album if you listen with headphones, which is highly suggested. The vocal range of Joseph Arthur is something else very admirable. He can pass off soaring falsettos in the vein of Jeff Buckley and mix it with deep crooning like Leonard Cohen as heard in "When I Was Running Out Of Time" and "Don't Tell Your Eyes." A different take of this is found on "Enough To Get Away." This upbeat tune features Joseph talking vs. singing, before melting into that beautiful falsetto voice that harmonizes perfectly with his normal vocals during the chorus.
Joseph Arthur has done it again and made an album full of gems. He is going on tour very soon and if I were you I would hurry up and get my tickets. This is going to be one hell of a show from one hell of a performer.
"Enough To Get Away" MP3