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All The Luck In The World — A Blind Arcade (23 Feb 2018)

All The Luck In The World — A Blind Arcade (23 Feb 2018) All The Luck In The World — A Blind Arcade (23 Feb 2018)All The Luck In The World — A Blind Arcade (23 Feb 2018)••      
Location: Berlin, Germany
Genre: Alternative 
Album release: 23 Feb 2018
Record Label: All the Luck in the World
Duration:     45:49
01 Landmarks     4:07
02 Pages     2:54
03 Golden October     3:48
04 A Thousand Eyes     3:08
05 Starboard     3:31
06 About the Ghosts     4:08
07 Contrails     4:42
08 Moon     3:57
09 Into the Ocean     6:14
10 High Beams     3:33
11 Abhainn     5:46
© 2018 All the Luck in the World
/ FEBRUARY 23, 2018 / SCORE: 83%
••      ••      Have you ever bought an album based solely on the cover? It may seem like a fool’s errand but I’ve yet to fall short, in fact I’ve discovered some of my favourite albums using this very method. That striking hand-painted artwork is what drew me in to the sophomore album from this Berlin based trio of Irish songwriters, and true to form it doesn’t disappoint. With a casual listen it appears to be a charming but otherwise ordinary folk release, but under closer inspection it’s anything but, as in certain places it sounds quite unlike any folk you’re likely to hear this year. Keen to experiment, sometimes even with their own homemade instruments, these songsmiths manage to adorn their creations with a cloak of curiosity that keeps you coming back for more but without distracting too much from the authentic folk warmth.
••      The gorgeous finger~picking of ‘Landmarks’ soothes like the gentle patter of rain on a windowpane, and ‘A Thousand Eyes’ offers understated orchestration and expressive bass lines, alongside little ambient sounds that prove even the tiniest details can make a song memorable. It’s the closing track however, ‘Abhainn’, that stands out as the album’s highlight. The uplifting climax offers the record’s most expansive sound, and you can just picture in your head the perfect motivational montage (complete with breathtaking landscapes) to accompany the song. Regarding A Blind Arcade as a whole, there are times when the tracks seem to just blend into each other, but the finer points of the album more than make up for it. We have here a real hidden gem of a record; full of life and surely due to be one of the finest folk releases of the year.  
••      https://belwoodmusic.com/
Review by Sowing Season
February 24th, 2018 | Score: 4.2
••      Review Summary: Eloquent, pristine, and occasionally powerful, A Blind Arcade reveals a band that is on the verge of making a statement.
••      If you’ve ever laid on the grass at night and watched clouds float underneath the moon, like apparitions passing through a stone wall, then you may have experienced a piece of A Blind Arcade. The same could be said if you have ever watched the sun rise from a tree~covered mountain top, catching glimpses of light as the rays slowly begin to reflect upon the dew~covered leaves. You see, there’s something distinctly natural about All The Luck In The World’s music, and it’s that rare kind of beauty that makes you wonder if all the stars aligned just for you to hear something so arresting, right here in this precise moment. A mere glance at the album’s gorgeous artwork serves as a sufficient preview of what to expect, and the music behind the curtain rarely disappoints. A Blind Arcade flows forth with acoustic fullness, rolling effortlessly atop a current of pristine picking and strumming that will have you feeling as though you’re standing right next to a pastoral stream, listening to the water lap up against each stone along the way. It offers up poetic melodies that experiment with time signatures and wintry effects to instill an absolutely breathtaking atmosphere, and one that never relents over the course of its dreamlike run time. It’s truly a record that ensnares the senses, and will leave you awestruck at how something so simple can sound so life~changing.
••      From the moment it begins, A Blind Arcade wraps you within its acoustical prowess and warm melodies with “Landmarks” — a track that features the closest thing that could be mistaken for a hook here. The verses gently overlay the music’s shimmering acoustic picking in a relatively threadbare instrumental canvas, which gives the drums an unanticipated sense of authority when they finally come rumbling in around the chorus’ second rendition. This kind of gradual build~up becomes a defining characteristic as the record wears on, as it never seems to be in too much of a hurry to peel away its instrumental layers. The band’s methodology pays dividends, as the littlest of twists — a swelling violin, a series of chimes, woodwinds — carry momentum altering weight given the relative minimalism of the record as a whole. Perhaps no better example could be cited than A Blind Arcade’s third track, “Golden October”, which is a microcosm of everything that’s enjoyable about the album. It commences with some simply strummed chords, introduces strings, slowly emphasizes the force of each drum beat, and eventually alters the vocal melody to rise and meet the intensity that the rest of the song has already arrived at. The way it all happens so subtly is a thing of beauty, and by the song’s final minute you’re totally spellbound. In a way that’s how A Blind Arcade functions on a macro scale as well. The aforementioned songs possess a quiet confidence; this splendor that, through restraint, feels elegant and classy. By the album’s final three songs, the emotion that was merely emanating from its beginning has erupted: the resplendent guitars of the six~minute “Into The Ocean”, the shouted/almost screamed final verses of “High Beams”, and the fervent string/percussion interplay of “Abhainn” all make you wonder where that kind of energy was all along. It might leave some of the earlier tracks feeling like missed opportunities, but they were the necessary building blocks that allowed A Blind Arcade to culminate in such a passionate, satisfying end.
••      As you can tell, this is a record that is easy to heap praise on. However, there are some key weaknesses that would need to be addressed before A Blind Arcade could be considered anything approaching flawless. All The Luck In The World obviously aren’t mainstream wunderkinds with million dollar studios at their disposal, so the production can at times cause A Blind Arcade to get in its own way. There’s no denying the overarching beauty of this record, but at the same time that beauty is pretty much the same all the way through. One could extrapolate aspects of any single track and scatter them throughout the album with little or no consequence to its overall flow. While that speaks volumes about the album’s prevailing atmosphere, there simply aren’t enough diverse ideas — either structurally or instrumentally — to span eleven unique songs. It’s as if some uplifting, passionate aura was tapped into and then written about in several different ways. Each song adds a small wrinkle to the formula, but they all leave you with the same general sensation. It’s an inspiring one at that, but it doesn’t necessarily grow with you throughout the listening experience. If All The Luck In The World could find a way to have all these breathtaking musical avenues arrive at different emotional destinations, they would open up a vast universe that goes well beyond the unique and stunning world that they’ve composed here.
••      All The Luck In The World have created one of the better folk/acoustic indie albums that you’ll likely listen to this year. Hailing from Ireland to very little public acclaim, they’ve now notched just their second full~length LP — so it’s unlikely that we’ve heard either the best or the last of this promising young outfit. A Blind Arcade should prove to be instrumental in their progression as a band. Their self~titled debut was an alluring venture into acoustic folk, but this expands their sonic palette noticeably and in ways that will begin to separate them from their contemporaries. A Blind Arcade shows success and growth in all the right places, and although it does possesses a handful of shortcomings, they are the kinds of weaknesses that can be corrected with a little more experimentation. As it stands, A Blind Arcade is a gorgeous standalone album that feels like a splash of color on acoustic~folk’s grayscale current state of affairs. It’s creative, emotive, and most certainly welcome.
••      https://www.sputnikmusic.com/
(Martin Smeets) / Unsere Bewertung: 7/10
Im Zweifel für den Mut
••      Natürlich stimmt der Spruch so nicht und natürlich ist gerade all das, was in Sachen Folk durch irgendwelche Zufälle, oder — sagen wir mal — Trivago~Werbespots die Aufmerksamkeitsspanne einer breiteren Masse erreicht, oft ziemlich weit entfernt von dem, was man gemeinhin mutig nennt. Man nehme zur Beweisführung nur Mumford & Sons, die nach “Sigh no more” eigentlich nichts mehr auf die Kette gebracht haben, an das man sich langfristig erinnern möchte. Und sogar der geschätzte Ben Cooper alias Radical Face, der, wie es der Zufall so will, auch schon mal einen Werbespot untermalen durfte, hat in letzter Zeit in Sachen Trefferquote ein ganzes Stück Federn gelassen. Keine guten Voraussetzungen also für All The Luck In The World, die jetzt mit ihrem Zweitling “A blind arcade” vorstellig werden.
••      Schließlich war das Debüt schon mit dem Makel behaftet, nicht mehr als eine Ansammlung ganz hübscher Songs zu sein, die ohne dieses “Never” wohl bestenfalls den Weg in ein paar ausgewählte Plattensammlungen gefunden hätte. Eben eines der vielen, vielen Indiefolk~Alben, schön und ein bisschen beliebig. Man möchte sich schon zum Triumph aufplustern, wenn man nun “A blind arcade” zum ersten Mal über den Weg läuft, doch wie so oft bleibt einem das vorschnelle Urteil schon beim eineinhalbten Blick im Halse stecken. Die Worte “Ich hab’s ja gleich schon gewusst” kann man sich sparen und sich freuen, dass die Herren Neil Foot, Kelvin Barr und Ben Connolly beim zweiten Anlauf Bock auf etwas mehr hatten. Das bedeutet, dass auf “A blind arcade” alles ein wenig ausformulierter daher kommt, mit mehr Fundament in der Produktion, mit ein paar zusätzlichen eingespielten Spuren und einem allgemein breiteren Sound. Das aber meint wiederum nicht, dass hier im Vitalis~Style weniger für mehr verkauft wird.
••      Im Gegenteil, die simple Tatsache, dass man sich dieses Mal nicht nur ein wenig mehr Zeit für das eigene Schaffen genommen hat, sondern im Vorfeld gleich einen abgelegenen Schuppen zum Studio umgebaut hat, um in Ruhe Songs schreiben zu können, tut den Songs hörbar gut. Die mehr oder weniger zerbrechliche Gitarrenfigur als Songwriting~Leitfaden hat auf “A blind arcade” überraschend oft ausgedient, es dominiert der Mut zum sanften Experiment. Zwar mag der gelungene Vorbote “Contrails” in manchen Ohren noch sehr auf Nummer~Sicher~Folk setzen, der Rest des Albums folgt dieser Marschrichtung jedoch nur vereinzelt. Der Opener “Landmarks” spannt seine Hörer geradezu lustvoll auf die Folter, das sachte vorgetragene “Pages” holt sich schüchterne Streichinstrumente ins Boot, verleitet unter der Oberfläche zum Einsatz solch unsäglicher Vokabeln wie “pluckern” und ist vor allem ein butterweicher Herbstblues~Trostspender. Funktioniert natürlich auch jahreszeitunabhängig hervorragend.
••      Ganz zum Schluss wartet noch “Abhainn”, das sich seiner Verantwortung als Rausschmeißer wohl bewusst ist und genau deshalb das Trio nochmal zur Hochform auflaufen lässt. Das ist unverschämt eingängig, ohne aber formelhaft oder gar nach Baukasten zu klingen. Womit die größte Stärke dieser etwas merkwürdigen Platte benannt ist: Alles ist erst mal nett, alles läuft schnell durch und ist doch interessant genug, um nochmal ein Ohr zu riskieren. Beim zweiten Hinhören wird deutlich, wie viel Mühe und Detailversessenheit in “A blind arcade” versteckt ist. Vom Folk~Malen~nach~Zahlen ist dieses Album überraschend weit entfernt. Das bezahlt die Band mit dem Fehlen eines offensichtlichen Hits. All The Luck In The World haben sich entschieden, den eigenen Sound einen kleinen Schritt zu entwickeln, ohne den einfachen Weg zu gehen. Ein mutiges Album.
••      https://www.plattentests.de/

All The Luck In The World — A Blind Arcade (23 Feb 2018)


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