The Graduation Ceremony

The Graduation Ceremony

Ohio native Joseph Arthur is a prolific writer and performer whose dour demeanor in song often obscures his intensity. Arthur may sound like an indifferent broken heart on “Out On a Limb,” but the beauty that coalesces around his vision is palpable. “Horses” is sung with a graceful lift where the background vocals join forces on top of a seamless instrumental backing. “Almost Blue” plays with a noticeable grey shading to the arrangement. “Someone to Love” has a desperate tingle in its vocal as the piano and strings gain momentum. “Watch Our Shadows Run” emulates the synthetic and falsetto arrangements of Mark Hollis. There’s a beautiful brooding to tracks such as “Over the Sun” and “Face In the Crowd.” The album is not unlike an acoustic, chamber-pop version of the Afghan Whigs or the Gutter Twins. Arthur has Greg Dulli’s sense of despair, but his sense of apocalypse is still within reason. There’s even still some pixie dust left for the light-footed “Midwest.”

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