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Review: Arthur Beatrice's Working Out

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Arthur Beatrice's Working Out

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If being named after a fiery Golden Girls character doesn't get your attention then English rockers, Arthur Beatrice, will surely capture you with their cascading baritones and refreshing take on indie pop. Made up of classmates and friends Orlando Leopard, Ella Girardot, and brothers Hamish and Elliott Barnes, Arthur Beatrice carved out a unique path for themselves that started with the creation of their own label, Open Assembly, back in 2010. Nearly four years since taking control of their promotion and concert bookings, Arthur Beatrice’s entrepreneurial approach garnered them little mainstream attention, but formed a small and albeit dedicated fan base through old fashioned word of mouth -- making them a rarity among contemporary bands in that their existence has been largely a secret, until recently. The band’s 2013 release of the single “Grand Union” and Carter EP earned them a feature in the Guardian’s "Bands to Watch" column and the frenzy that ensued the following year with the release of their album Working Out proves the underdog is always poised to come out on top.

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Similar to Carter’s broody uptempo, Working Out is a masterfully executed and lyrically stimulating work of art that is reminiscent of The xx, the Sundays, and Warpaint. What sets Arthur Beatrice apart though, is their ability to elude anything genre-specific to create mesmerizing jams that permeate some of the most abstract aspects of the human condition. With help from vocalists Orlando Leopard and Ella Girardot, Working Out is executed with pop sensibility but quickly transcends that to achieve something far more spellbinding and mature. Never one to cover songs, the foursome have impressively written their own songs since day one, and it shows beautifully in Working Out’s “Late,” “Grand Union,” and, most notably, “Midland,” a poetic paradigm for emotional inequalities and haunting revelations (“All I want is to be warm at home and well known”).

The success of Working Out is owed not only to vocalists Leopard and Girardot, but brothers Hamish and Elliott Barnes whose instrumental command seem to create the blueprint for the band's enveloping dark humor, especially apparent in tracks like “Singles,” “Fairlawn,” and “Charity.” What truly catapults Working Out into the dream pop stratosphere is the attention paid to complimentary strengths. As described in numerous interviews, Leopard and Girardot have expressed the importance of knowing who or what sounds best on a track and that’s exactly the kind of intuition and care that drives the experience of Working Out from the first snare to the last stroke of a keyboard key. Working Out is the epitome of an elegant magnum opus that’s ripe with the promise of Arthur Beatrice’s future success.

Visit Arthur Beatrice's website here.

Listen to "Midland" here.

Watch "Midland" here.

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