Melbourne quartet climb higher with first self titled e.p.
There’s an art to making the perfect e.p. Just think back, if you’re old enough, to some of the classics, multiple Cocteau Twins slabs of vinyl (CD works as well but for once vinyl has the edge), Curve, again masters of the art, Bunnymen, Shine So Hard, Buzzcocks, Spiral Scratch, ad infinitum.
Basic principles remain simple: write three or four strong songs that seem to hang together well, preferably design some great artwork and you have a condensed dose of music that can turn sceptics into fans within around 15 minutes.
In the digital era it’s a whole different ball game, but we make our own fun here so let’s try a bit of minor league dream therapy: close your eyes. You are in your favourite record shop flipping through the new releases, it’s pre-internet so you have no idea what you will find. You come across the cover of Blue Arcade’s self titled e.p, are intrigued and take a chance. Cash is handed over and home you go, the needle hits the plastic and the question is, have you wasted your money or not?
Somebody Else takes us immediately into exquisite New Order-esque territory, Ned Hope giving us a very nice Stephen Morris style metronomic backbeat to match Eli Moore’s highly addictive bass line, it’s one of those tracks that hits the sweet spot instantly and doesn’t let go. Meanwhile Eva floats above the action confiding of ‘breaking the rules’ and a ‘kiss in the dark’, while under the spell of a beautiful stranger. Comfortingly, influences are easily transcended.
A snatch of laughter and then we’re into These Early Days, replicating the effect of a cool breeze on a hot day, tune into those lyrics though and you’ll find a lot going on under the surface sheen of blissful jangle.
Speaking of jangle, the cheekily titled, Money Jarr dips down into the well of pensive beauty that was early Smiths. Tom raining down a shimmering wall of rolling guitar that refracts and reflects behind Eva’s vocal.
And that just leaves the syn-drum assisted fever dream titled Another Minute. Guitar bites while Eva risks all with a nakedly honest slice of desire that trades in fears of abandonment and a confusion that leaves her unable to think or breathe. It’s a deceptively unassuming song that goes on to dig its claws deep by the final coda.
Tom took the drastic, but I suspect infinitely pleasurable, step of quitting a job to focus on the recording and production. The art needs to come first, although hopefully he’s not going too far down the road to becoming a starving artist. In any event it paid off, Blue Arcade have used the e.p. format to take the next step in their development, where they go from here will be very interesting to hear.