Release Date: Mar 4, 2014
Record label: Polydor
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Amongst countless far-reaching comparisons, London four-piece Arthur Beatrice emerged quietly last year to an almost delayed response. They may look like just another smartly dressed indie band from London, but the music they’re making is presented so eloquently, that it feels positively fresh again.They’ve been compared to The xx among others, but that’s somewhat misguided, especially considering their music is decidedly un-nocturnal. ‘Working Out’ more closely resembles the early morning, albeit less groggy, with its shimmering washes of eloquent piano sweeps and sun-drenched guitar.
Taking a cue from like-minded purveyors of moody, shape-shifting modern rock like Wild Beasts, the XX, and Alt-J, London four-piece Arthur Beatrice cast a seductive shadow on their major-label debut, the icy and elegant Working Out. Choosing the band's moniker by inverting head Golden Girl Bea Arthur's name aside, the quartet's 11-track inauguration is a brooding, largely quirk-less affair that sounds a bit like Beach House setting up shop on a bridge above the Thames. Vocal duties are split between the fantastically named, Morrissey-esque Orlando Leopard and the soulful Ella Girardot, the latter of whom imbues each syllable with a sort of restrained, wounded elegance that's both bewitching and melancholy, like Adele or Florence Welch at their least bombastic.
Arthur Beatrice (taking their name presumably from Golden Girls‘ Bea Arthur) were a member of that burbling cadre of anonymous musicians that rose a few years past, when it first started to become a fad. Some remnants have survived to this day: we’ve only just found out what Burial look like, and who can really say with any degree of certainty where Jai Paul is? Arthur Beatrice are modern relics of way-back-when, when no one really knew who anyone was and people lived behind iron curtains online, occasionally sending out snippets of brilliance that seemed to appear via immaculate conception. We had smoggy disguises and alter-egos and shrouds of mystique.
Working Out is the debut album from elusive London-based Arthur Beatrice. Having dropped singles on the public from as far back as 2012, it was last year's Carter EP that offered the first taste of something finished from the band. Unfortunately this album isn't the success story it could have been, faltering for a number of reasons, but that doesn't mean that it's all doom and gloom here, quite the opposite.
Working Out, the debut LP from London quartet Arthur Beatrice, doesn't rush into anything. It takes its time building a quiet atmosphere to dwell in for a while, and then it just kind of stays there. It envelops the listener in a hazy fog of dreamy pop. It's not weighed down by effects or gimmicks ….
Don't let the name fool you: Arthur Beatrice aren't a solo artist, but a four-piece firmly rooted in indiepop territory. Ella Girardot and Orlando Sheppard share vocal duties, backed on sparse bass and drums, respectively, by brothers Hamish and Elliot Barnes. Unsurprisingly, since their appearance online in 2011, the band has fielded comparisons to the xx.
Like Aesop’s tortoise racing the hare, London four-piece Arthur Beatrice are in no particular hurry. They first appeared in NME back in 2011, but after a handful of secretive shows they found a bolthole and spent 18 months crafting this debut album. Their unhurried approach is reflected in their spacious, elegant pop with shades of The xx, Wild Beasts and Alt-J.
Arthur Beatrice are a band faced with a few challenges, not to mention questions. Namely: Do they really love Bea Arthur that much? And how does a band form an identity in the crowded genre of narcotic, blissed-out pop these days, anyhow? With a sound that sounds frightfully similar to heavy-hitting predecessors The XX, Wild Beasts, alt-J and most recently (and probably closely) London Grammar, Arthur Beatrice’s self-produced LP Working Out sees the schoolyard chums don their boxing gloves as they work out what an album that would set them apart would sound like. The band have come a long way from playing intimate friends & family filled shows at London venues like The Stag’s Head and Borderline, and Working Out has certainly seen them mature.