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The Armed - Perfect Saviors (Album Review)

Tuesday, 29 August 2023 Written by Tom Morgan

If you’re unfamiliar with The Armed, go read about some of their reality-smashing pranks. From sending journalists on bizarre wild goose chases to stealing Frank Turner’s vocals, the Detroit collective were once as much a postmodern art experiment as they were a band.

But things have apparently changed in the Armed-verse. Prior to the release of their fourth full-length ‘Perfect Saviors’, the band have decided to drop the swerves and lift the lid on their identity.

This lifting of the veil coincides with the reshaped tone of their latest album, which is likewise approachable and (relatively) straightforward.

Their jaw-dropping 2021 album ‘Ultrapop’ was hardcore filtered through experimental pop, an audaciously futuristic explosion of utopia-core.

‘Perfect Saviors’ retains this colourful maximalism, but dials things down in terms of its ‘heavy’ intensity: In Heaven is an ethereal dream pop ballad, Liar 2 is a groovy robo-rock number that recalls latter-period Death From Above 1979 (a recurring similarity across the album) while the extraordinary closer Public Grieving is a jazz-rock epic that utilises flutes, dreamy vocals and a fantastic bass solo.

However, the best tracks are the euphoric and kinetic cuts that stud the first half. FKA World is as emotive as it is propulsive, while Clone blends post-hardcore guitars, blastbeats and Strokes-esque vocals into a thrillingly unpredictable three minutes.

‘Perfect Saviors’ is an almost total success, barring one or two tracks that ignite a less vibrant spark. In a rock music landscape filled with retro imitation, The Armed have offered up more resounding evidence of the genre’s vitality.

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