Redjetson - Other Arms

by Steve Rhodes Rating:10 Release Date:

A band most are unlikely to have heard of, Redjetson were a group from Essex with a big heart and a huge sound. Emerging around the same time as 'big noise' guitar botherers Bloc Party, Editors and ILikeTrains (the latter of whom they often toured with), they produced two superb, constrasting, albums of stunning beauty, encompassing the aforementioned big noise, post-rock and piano-led melancholy. Sadly, they split before Other Arms was released so I never got a chance to see them perform it live, but what an epitaph.

'Soldiers and Dinosaurs' is a frenetic opener, with athletic drumming, multi-vocals and guitars from the Interpol songbook. Its dreamy and swirling outlook and light use of echo and distortion, especially on Clive Kentish's lead vocal, without veering into overblown territory, sets the stall of the album, while feeling far fuller in production than their strong debut.

'Beta Blocker' continues the theme with spectral guitars but also adds driving bass-lines and glockenspiel. The lyrics ("The rent is due, ideology's gone, the rent is due, philosophy's gone") are nicely at odds with the uplifting nature of the melody introduced part-way through the song. These contrasts are also apparent on 'Questions I Don't Want to Ask'. Lurics such as "I take this opportunity to make my voice heard" and "reasoning isn't easy" hint at a political undercurrent in the band's outlook which both supports and conflicts with the rolling drums and a chiming, rising guitar. Its a delicate and vibrant song which is delightfully punctuated with the occasional, rich power-chord.

Guitar bands of this nature can often wallow in self-pity as a default position but Redjetson confound this with optimistic and comforting lyrics. '(g)Listen', with its more orchestral sound, wandering basslines, and pronounced, but still welcoming, glockenspiel, eases the listener with the advice of "it's alright". 'For Those That Died Dancing' suggests the reassuring "there is no apocalypse, turn off the lights and have some fun", to a beautiful, dramatic guitar and a full, warm enveloping sound that's difficult not to nod along to.

There are a number of other highlights on Other Arms. 'Count These Demons' demonstrates the perfect blend of quiet and loud. It commences with a heavy opening which veers into fragile strings supporting Clive's soaring vocal, accompanied by a subtle, hypnotic lead guitar. The song takes elements of Ride's 'Vapour Trail' and Hope of the States, while puncturing this by louder noises in the chorus. The twin repetitive guitar opening of 'These Structures' paves the way for slow keys and echo-drenched, delayed guitars, building up to a crescendoed, almost post-metal finale. 'First of the 47000' is an excellent, epic instrumental in the mould of Sigur Ros or Explosions in the Sky, where glockenspiel and organ are joined by a warm, haunting, spacious guitar line, like a snowman playing a guitar while melting.

'Threnody', however, is the standout of the album. Deep, minor piano chords, gentle, plucked strings and powerful vocals dominate, assisted by a cold, atmospheric guitar, especially on the line "Dignity in silence lead us all in life/ Get in touch with God, cover me in vice". The repeated chorus of "You, my fuel, to keep me warm inside" again reassures and is belted out with a muscular, crescendoed guitar for company. A slow-burning and sombre masterpiece which is as beautiful a song you can hear.

A band that deserved so much more. Go seek them out and with Other Arms you'll be rewarded with a luscious, timeless, guitar album, leaving you with a warm, fuzzy feeling that'll make you crave repeated listens.

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