Scott Archer is on to something. He goes by the moniker Arlum Village and recently released an extremely enjoyable and original EP entitled The Ballad Of Paka. As I was listening to the first song “The Hunted” I was thinking he sounded like Animal Collective pre-Merriweather Post Pavilion but as the song and then the EP progressed it became clear that Archer has a lot more going on than another Animal Collective copycat.
His EP tells the story of an aging warrior seeking to battle his own mortality. The narrative works and is propelled by the infectious hooks, solid production and emotional resonance that is displayed throughout.
The Ballad of Paka starts with “The Hunted,” which is a jovial song that combines distant vocal harmonies, clapping and various percussive elements. It has a tribal, whimsical nature that is implemented invoking imagery of a magical rainforest. I enjoyed the juxtaposition Archer introduces into the song. The song feels light and carefree but the lyrics are actually quite brutal. He sings “They are the wolves but I am a man /They have their fangs but I have my hands /So I will break their jaws tonight.”
“Young Pup” is a good song but it also felt the most straightforward. A simple bass line creates the foundation as Archer explores an open canvas. Interestly enough I sensed a bit of influence from The Strokes on this track. I think it was the vocals, which had the same distorted aesthetics you would hear from Julian Casablancas. The last minute or so of the song is money. He combines vocal harmonies and a plethora of instruments in blissful melody that had its roots in 1950’s doo -wop.
“Toothless” is another highlight and testament to Archer’s songwriting. The song brings a slower, melancholy energy that is just as bit as effective. He ends with the best song on the EP entitled “Under The Snow.” From the very beginning of the song when you hear his excellent vocal melody backed by childlike bells you know he is going to hit it out of the park and he does.
The song progresses to a nostalgic and grand ending where his warrior faces his fears about death. He sings, “but all their cubs will know my name and all my crimes will wash away I am not afraid to die.”
The Ballad of Paka is an EP that didn't lose me at any point along the journey. I will be listening to it until I get to hear Arlum Village’s full-length.
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