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Nuclear Daydream

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Album Review

The flagship release on Joseph Arthur's own Lonely Astronaut label, Nuclear Daydream is a lushly produced and exquisitely delivered collection of 12 new songs, linked by his never-less-than florid eye for sometimes-'60s pop arrangements, and a lyricism that would put you in mind of a host of other performers, if you didn't know that the likes of Michael Stipe and Chris Martin are as influenced by Arthur as he is by them. The single "Too Much to Hide" opens the set on a blustering wall of symphonics; elsewhere, Nuclear Daydream aims for a more stripped-back approach, just Arthur's curiously vulnerable vocal against an acoustic guitar, or the sounds of a blues band, rehearsing in another room. Occasionally, it does get a little too calculated — the half-falsetto that strains through "Slide Away" puts one in mind of the preposterous squawking that Mick Jagger layered through the Stones' "Emotional Rescue." But the stark "Electrical Storm" and the raw "When I Was Running out of Time" celebrate Arthur at his very finest, while the closing title track has a Dylan-ish edge that also turns the cycle full-circle. Without it ever deliberately going for the jugular, Nuclear Daydream is nevertheless an album that is difficult to shake out of your ears; moreover, it's one that only grows stronger with every repeated play. With that in mind, it's too early to proclaim it Arthur's best ever effort. But it's certainly one of the year's most compulsive.

Customer Reviews

creative genius

So lyrical. Each song has a depth worth looking into. This album is a lot softer than his others but still with enough variety to keep listening through all 18 songs. Constantly amazed by all new music Joe puts out. And still absolutely thrilled with his old albums too.

Under the Radar

I "discovered" Joseph Arthur back in 2007 at the Austin City Limits Festival. I was immediately drawn into his songs and this is probably one of his more accessible albums. Highly recommended.

Biography

Born: September 28, 1971 in Akron, OH

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Ohio native Joseph Arthur was discovered by Peter Gabriel, who signed the folk-rock songwriter to Real World Records in the mid-'90s. Arthur's debut, Big City Secrets, was released in 1997 and went fairly unnoticed, despite an eclectic, brooding sound influenced by the likes of Leonard Cohen, Joe Henry, and the late Jeff Buckley. Gabriel influenced Arthur's music, too, exposing his songwriting to a global palette, roping him into Gabriel's annual WOMAD shows, and giving him a roster of fellow labelmates...
Full Bio
Nuclear Daydream, Joseph Arthur
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