Philadelphia-based artist, ARTHUR, drops his dystopian-like self-produced album, Hair Of The Dog, out today. Hair of The Dog is his second, self-produced album where he describes this musical journey as a place of “enough soaring melodies to help cope with very real heartbreak and loss in a carnivalesque way.”
Hair Of The Dog mixes a pop sound and a retro/wonky-like approach to create music that “leaps between universes” but will always come back home and come full circle.
The opening track “8 Melodies” really opens up my ears for quite the sonic experience. The vocal melody works on one side of the spectrum while the instrumental starts from the other side. Visually, imagine a greater than symbol (>), and the middle point is where those melodies are in unison, but the further points are where those melodies originated from melodically.
A lot less of a complicated explanation is needed for the next song. “Feel Good” is a great mix of EDM and this ethereal-like sound that is really iconic for the album as a whole. Musically speaking, these two styles couldn’t be further from each other, but ARTHUR does a great job of meshing the two into one cohesive sound. One of the songs that currently has a music video is “Fatalist” so be sure to give that a look! The overall aesthetic of the music video is probably the best visual representation the album could have.
“Epic” is a short song, but captures a lot of different aspects of ambiance and rhythms that really shape the song. “No Tengo” is another rhythmically-dictated song, but it became too choppy for my style. There is definitely a way to smooth over an edgier-cutting song without losing the bite behind it, but the style just overwhelmed the song as a whole.
“Something Sweet” (ft. Caleb Giles) share an intense story through its lyrics. It creates this overwhelming ambiance that really brings you into the song. Introducing another vocalist onto the album definitely created a nice change of pace to the overall experience.
The lead single of the album, “William Penn,” creates a smoother sounding avenue that the album has yet to explore. “William Penn” was written with the help of a bandmate and childhood friend, Kieran Ferris.
“I started ‘William Penn’ four years ago with my friend, Kieran, in my living room in South Philly,” ARTHUR says. “I remember hearing a ghost go up and down the stairs in the basement, so I closed my laptop and took a walk. It took a few years for the song to pop back up and it probably makes more sense to me now then it did before. Something about mortality and waiting forever. Right now, the song feels like the beginning and the end, waiting for something that never comes with big smiles on our faces and a bag of popcorn…” The horn section is another great touch, and I definitely understand why they made this the lead single for the album.
Exploring a somber and darker side is “Simple Song.” You wouldn’t know by the instrumentation that it’s not a happy song, but when you take a closer look at the lyrics, you come to the realization that there’s a lot more emotional content under the surface of the song.
ARTHUR’s closing song, “You Are Mine,” changes the dynamics of the album one last time with a celestial ambiance that’s paired with the use of a younger person choir. He keeps me on my toes till the very end because this song feels so far out of their album’s bubble, but I guess those are the best kind of closers, aren’t they?
Hair Of The Dog is an eclectic collection of songs that speak for themselves. Give a listen to his upcoming album on his streaming platforms!
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