Published Sep 30, 2015Girls Names vocalist Cathal Cully has called Iggy Pop's The Idiot an influential record during tough times. Knowing this, it's nearly impossible to hear Arms Around A Vision, the Belfast quartet's third record, without it evoking that dark classic. Besides from the recognizable baritone parallels between Bowie's contributions and Cully, the album shares a similar gloominess, despite danceable rhythms and distinct melodies.
Compared to 2013's The New Life, Arms' guitar chords are more prominent and vigorous; "Take Out The Hand," "An Artificial Spring" and "Desire Oscillations" each rumble along until powerful, ranging choruses break the tension. Dreamy orchestral experimentations come in the form of "(Convalescence)" and "(Obsession)," with brackets indicating breaks from the album's narrative. "Chrome Rose" uses a combination of organs and to carry its tragic melody, while the haunting "I Was You," a reverb-shrouded piece overhanging plaintive bass plucks, closes the proceedings.
There's vitality peppered throughout here, offering enough hope to momentarily forget the despair, as melodies lift the listener briefly before crashing you back down. This mercurial nature makes Arms Around A Vision a beguiling listen, one that's strangely difficult to stop listening to. (Tough Love)