January 20, 2020

Arcwelder - Xerxes (1994)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Post Hardcore
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© 1994 Touch & Go
AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett
Another quick blast of Arcwelder love (barely over half an hour long), this album maintains the same level of quality evident from previous releases. While by this time, now on their fourth album, it's clear that Arcwelder has a sound -- rock with many post-punk roots, wedding crunch and drive with an emotionalism that isn't totally hidden -- from which they don't really deviate, it's still good. Bill Graber gets in the first song with the nice rush of "Smile," but Macdonald's first bow, "All My Want for Need," succeeds even more with its measured pace and thick guitar flow supporting his ghost-of-Mould vocals. From then on in it's the usual mix of songs: a dozen fine reasons why rock will never die, but may not get the attention it always deserves ("Let Down" in particular qualifies in the lost-classic book). Producer Brian Paulson does the business once again, while Bob Weston stops by to remix about five songs, which, if anything, makes them sound even better. His work on "All Mixed Together" may make Arcwelder sound more like Nirvana than ever before, but the song is still solid and the performance fantastic. Other hints that the trio had heard some of what was going down in the early '90s crop up as well -- sudden silences mid-song and so forth -- but it's still very much an Arcwelder album, just one that absorbs some more touches as it progresses. "Freebird" is another one of the group's sharp, charging instrumentals. It is not a cover -- it'd be hilarious to hear what they could do with that old warhorse, admittedly! -- but they reveal a most wicked sense of humor in naming the thrashy penultimate number "The Carpal Tunnel Song."

tags: arcwelder, xerxes, 1994, flac,


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