I first saw Arthur Beatrice two years ago, during my first year of University. I was still doing the first year thing, trying to make friends but in such a way that firmly establishes ‘what you are all about’. Arthur Beatrice, this sultry unsigned band playing the upstairs of a bar opposite halls, seemed like a perfect opportunity to modify my work-in-progress persona. A band that made me appear at once soulful and sensitive, but also brooding and a little intense. This would have almost definitely paid off had I not spent the hour before the show drinking a bottle of Lambrini.
I’m telling you this because I’m now at the end of my degree and view memories like that with a mixture of amusement and coiled embarrassment, knowing that the friends I have made aren’t at all interested in how brooding I am. It is also a lesson I have come to learn about Arthur Beatrice. The band I initially thought looked “interesting” or “deep” have actually produced an album of such modest quality, cursory hyperboles are rendered obsolete. The record speaks for itself in the best way possible, beginning with ethereal blooming at the start of ‘Councillor’, guitar chatters into the inimitable character they have perfected, a sort of padded staccato pop. They have a sound that is soulful yet still nimble, with standouts like ‘Midland’ and ‘Carter’ showcasing a band working tightly as a unit without sacrificing their unmissable fluidity.
Building into a final stretch with grander tracks ‘Charity’, ‘Fairlawn’ and the breathtaking ‘Ornament and Safeguard’, with it’s thoughtful mantra “What I do as a woman, I do as a man”, the album collects brilliantly. Not only does this record echo the promise of a new band, but it also sounds assured and grounded as a piece of work in it’s own right. The melodic statements will stay with you long after listening, with vocal work that is confident and considered, and production that perfectly compliments the grandiose of every cut. An exciting start to a new year of music, and an even more exciting start to this band’s career. Also a fitting end to a bottle of Lambrini.
Words: Angus Harrison