It’s no secret that New Zealand’s resident pop song-book connoisseur Lawrence Arabia has a penchant for penning earworms at once inspired and unsettling. His 2009 single Apple Pie Bed took out the prestigious APRA Silver Scroll, positioning Mr Arabia (real name James Milne) in the great Kiwi song hall of fame.
Fast forward a few years and the enigmatic chanteur is back, on the cusp of releasing his fourth solo album. Milne’s songwriting has reached a commanding new level of skill and control in the years following Chant Darling; 2012’s The Sparrow was a sparse, dark affair stripped back its essentials – stark imagery and unflappable hooks. Following The Sparrow came the birth of Milne’s first child, meaning that the songs to follow were written amid ‘hazy post-partum exhaustion,’ in Milne’s own words. ‘It wasn’t a time for self-indulgence or misery. Even the tiniest free moment of reflection felt like a blessing.’
The result is Arabia’s strongest yet – aptly named Absolute Truth.
The album’s debut single A Lake is at once personal and abstract; its haunting melody ushered gracefully along by a 1960s groove and four-on-the-floor stomps.The Line Of Best Fit described it as ‘a confident, assured sound and the overall feeling that he’s finally happened upon the sound that works for him… with tracks as strong as this, there’s every chance that Lawrence Arabia’s new album will give him the worldwide recognition his music deserves’.
Joining Lawrence Arabia is Manchester’s own Songs For Walter – aka Laurie Hulme. Signed to Red Deer Club, he lists The Magnetic Fields, Bill Callahan and Destroyer among his influences, and has been described by Tom Ravenscroft as ‘one of my favourite discoveries of recent years’.
Following the release of his debut album to glowing reviews earlier this year, Songs For Walter warms up for his European tour with this intimate show.
Completing this excellent line-up are Oh Well, Goodbye. Hailing from Liverpool, Oh Well, Goodbye quietly crept into the UK scene with debut cassette release BG092 through US labelBleeding Gold Records. Beginning as a solo project during down time of his ‘day job’ bandPeople//Talk, Philip Rourke (founder of EDILS records/booking) quickly assembled like-minded musicians and played a scattering of shows in London and northern England, as well as a five-date tour of France in late 2015.
Oh Well, Goodbye will be releasing three new EPs before the end of 2017.