Årabrot’s 2018 record Who Do You Love weaves in and out of a striking array of ideas, both musically and thematically speaking. The release does, though, center on two key apparent points.
Firstly, the band presents a remarkable unity of purpose between their “noise rock” instrumentation and the vocals, which are at times quite prominent. Each portion of the album works towards the shared apparent goal of a personable irreverence. The band — although broadly fitting in with other “dirty rock” acts that aim to add a human touch to potentially monotonous chord progressions — holds to their own definition of relevant aims.
With unique instrumentation weaving through the album and a willingness to be both restrained and completely forthcoming, the band turns bombastic rock and roll into something new. Instead of being completely — and perhaps obnoxiously — forward, their music itches at the corners of your psyche, knocking on a metaphorical front door with “good news” to share that slowly but surely turns more intriguingly sinister. They don’t lay everything out on the table at once, drawing in the listener with promises of more and more. Indeed, the band actually makes good on that metaphorical promise — and adds to the complex sense inherent in the record — via heavy, almost menacing parts that come towards the end of Who Do You Love.
While no, they’re not experimental in their fundamental presentation of melody, the band keeps that melody from going down a rabbit trail of its own making. The band keeps their melodies strictly tied to the present tale — with the complexly dark nature of the songs, though, the listener is left wondering what exactly constitutes that “present.”
On that note, a second unifying point on the album is its apparent commitment to something more than combinations of musical notes. The band’s telling stories via the songs; in similar fashion to their creeping, invading music, though, these stories — while perhaps at times familiar sounding — paint intriguingly distorted views of the world. They stretch beyond the words being sung and the musical parts being played and encapsulate something broader.
In that sense, the album provides a truly grandiose art rock listening experience. There’s something to be gained by turning on the record prepared to listen to it front to back — and perhaps in the process you can find a version of yourself in the band’s story.
Listen below, via Bandcamp