Joseph Arthur – Could We Survive

March 23, 2008

In advance of his seventh LP due in early August, the ambitious, mercurial singer/songwriter Joseph Arthur is releasing four EPs over the next four months, beginning with this one, Could We Survive. It’s difficult to assign a single catch-all term to Arthur’s music since he’s run through a number of different genres since his first pair of albums, which contained world music and electronica influenced folk rock, and especially since he’s gone indie on his own label, Lonely Astronaut (also the name of his sometime band since 2006, albeit in a plural form). He dabbled in psychedelic and acid rock on his last release, Let’s Just Be, a progression hinted at on his first Lonely Astronaut release, Nuclear Daydream. Here on Could We Survive, however, he’s in a more introspective, often stripped down acoustic folk mode, with a mood akin to “In The Sun,” “Honey And The Moon” and “Redemption’s Son.” The EP begins with “Rages Of Babylon,” a anti-war song told from the perspective of an American soldier going overseas, who heartbreakingly wonders “Will my family remember me?” It’s one of Arthur’s best, most moving songs. Other highlights include the title track, a quiet, whispery ballad, and the final track, “King Of Pavement,” a folky tune with a warm, psychedelic feel. Reportedly, the next EP, Crazy Rain, due April 15th, will have more of a techno sound, and as for the two EPs after that, who knows? However, with the arrival of Could We Survive, it’s clear this is the beginning of a very good year for Joseph Arthur fans.


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