For me, writing a review is a sensual experience. Especially when the album is one that really moves me, more than the average work that I write about. The artist’s work is in my earphones, my thoughts fly a mile a minute, and I try to capture everything, I read it over once or twice, then I’m done. I’m not writing Shakespeare, after all, and I‘m not even getting paid.
Knowing that, maybe you can understand how aggravated I am that I lost a five-paragraph rave review of “Temporary People,” the seventh album created by singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur, who has flooded my in-box this year with four EPs full of more good songs than any one person is entitled to write in such a short period. I’m trying to recapture what I wrote, but it’s difficult. So if this write-up doesn’t sound like a rave, it’s not due to the material—it’s due to me being annoyed at my computer.

There are quite a few songs on “Temporary People” that sound like Josh Ritter’s last album, but where Ritter is unabashedly wide-eyed and bubbly, Arthur has an older-sounding voice, so the crisp guitar lines and simple compositions are given gravity where Ritter offers bounce. This is especially true of the title track, which is thoroughly cynical (you can tell just by the title), but not overtly so. Another profoundly powerful song is “Faith,” which features a catchy hook and wonderful lyrics.

In my view, the material on this full-length is the most accessible work Joseph Arthur has produced this year, and perhaps ever. With the help of “The Band” legend Garth Hudson on keys, the album soars through 12 tracks, never missing. It’s as if he got his experimental needs taken care of in 4 EPs released over the spring and summer. There, we had the shoegaze of “Could We Survive;” the electronic noiserock of “Crazy Rain;” the grimy folk of “Vagabond Skies;” and, finally, “Foreign Girls,” which was the closest in feel to “Temporary People.” I don’t know how one guy can be full of so many extraordinary songs, but come December, there’s a very good chance he’ll end up on both my “Best Albums of 2008” and my “Best EPs of 2008” lists.



Doctor My Eyes (Jackson Browne)-The New Amsterdams.

I always thought this would be a much better song if it went, “Doctor! My eyes! Oh, dear God! My eyes!”

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