Artists and bands seem to come out music faster and faster these days. Case and point is The Lonely Arms that formed at the end of 2015 and already released a full album entitled Gnaw Through the Strings by January of the next year. I don’t know who is in the band or how many people but I’m inclined to think it’s one or two people. As you might have guessed since the album came out so quickly there are disparate ideas but also some potential that I hope to hear as the project evolves.
Gnaw Through the Strings certainly has a depressing, melancholy vibe to say the least and some of it works and some it needs a bit of work. At its worst the songs can come off self-indulgent strictly made for the artist’s solace while the avant garde experimentation sometimes feel inventive and on the verge of memorable.
“Gnaw Through the Strings” is the opener and also one of the hardest songs to enjoy. Whoever is singing sounds somewhere between Scott Walker and Ian Curtis in both style and tone. If you heard The Drift by Scott Walker it reminded me of that. The vocals would have sounded better if they weren't so drenched in reverb. There were some decent ideas here except the implementation especially from a production standpoint was a little off.
The next song ‘Treasure” is a highlight and sounds significantly more aesthetically pleasing than the opener. The space between the guitar is piano good while the vocals are exceptional. This song could be an anchor from which they build their other material. “Edge of the Cascades” has some decent success but the production falters a bit here. “Song of the Heart” is a slow moving song with very sparse piano and vocals. It’s incredibly melancholy but I am a sucker for solo piano and vocals and I ended up really liking this track.
“Firewater” is experimental and longer than anything else that came before. I thought the vocal effect worked here and the acoustic strings were a nice touch. The dichotomy between atmosphere and energy worked. “Korgus” is an electronic amalgamation of synths that sound chaotic and unfettered the longer it goes on. The closer “Niagra” is thematic and tranquil while also having hints of melancholy and nostalgia.
Overall, I’m impressed by Gnaw Through the Strings. The band is being experimental and trying to find their footing. I like the ideas and the promise of this band but they fall into a category of wait and see. If they can refine their sound while also improving their production they should catch the attention of a niche audience.
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