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Arthur Buck - Arthur Buck (Album Review)

Monday, 18 June 2018 Written by Jacob Brookman

Photo: Dean Karr 

Pop stardom is a young person’s game.

Those who are able to sustain a career in such a notoriously slippery industry need an abundance of professional guile, flexibility and luck to keep them there. Furthermore, pop musicians often live and die on their currency; the capacity to keep their work relevant during a changing cultural environment. And therein lies the problem here.

Arthur Buck is the project of singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur and former R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck. The two have been collaborating since Buck's debut solo LP in 2012, and while they are highly skilled musical veterans who have crafted an album of varied textures, 'Arthur Buck' lacks the urgency and intensity of other records in the middle-aged-white-guy space.

This is demonstrated from track one. The boldly titled I Am the Moment could be a cadenza-like alarm to signal the official opening of this collaboration. Instead it is mealy mouthed radio fodder that never gets better than Buck’s opening mandolin bars.

One of the main problems is the record’s basic sonic palette. It is landfill Americana indie with turn-of the-century affectations. So far, so R.E.M, right? But their quality was derived through AAA songwriting and the unique charisma of Michael Stipe. When you remove those things, you have something that is devastatingly mediocre.

A good example of this is If You Wake Up In Time. One of the record’s better tracks, this song has a decent vocal hook and manages the limitations of the mandolin handsomely. Unfortunately, it’s a minute too long and once the song is over, the most memorable element is its slightly dated production.

A more irritating cut is Forever Falling, which lands somewhere between a Velvet Revolver ballad and a Sunday trip to B&Q. It’s a song of tedious languor that is dangerously close to David Brent parody. It demonstrates a lack of self awareness that makes the album very easy to turn off.

Ultimately, it’s a bit of a shame. The guys clearly love working and Buck remains a tremendously innovative musician, but this record is complacent. It feels like it was conceived and delivered in haste without a clear idea of what they were trying to do - other than rebrand themselves.

'Arthur Buck' is out now through New West Records

Arthur Buck Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows

Fri September 07 2018 - SEATTLE Washington - Crocodile (USA)
Sat September 08 2018 - PORTLAND Oregon - Doug Fir Lounge (USA)
Mon September 10 2018 - SAN FRANCISCO California - Independent (USA)
Tue September 11 2018 - LOS ANGELES California - Teragram Ballroom (USA)
Thu September 13 2018 - ATHENS Georgia - 40 Watt Club (USA)
Sun September 16 2018 - NASHVILLE Tennessee - Basement East - Nashville (USA)
Tue September 18 2018 - PHILADELPHIA Pennsylvania - World Cafe Live (USA)
Wed September 19 2018 - ALLSTON Massachusetts - Brighton Music Hall (USA)
Thu September 20 2018 - BROOKLYN New York - Music Hall Of Williamsburg (USA)
Fri September 21 2018 - WASHINGTON District of Columbia - Rock & Roll Hotel (USA)
Sun September 23 2018 - CHICAGO Illinois - Lincoln Hall (USA)
Mon September 24 2018 - MINNEAPOLIS Minnesota - 7th Street Entry (USA)

Click here to compare & buy Arthur Buck Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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