Entertainment Magazine

Arms’ Summer Skills [7.8]

Posted on the 15 November 2011 by Thewildhoneypie @thewildhoneypie

Screen shot 2011 09 21 at 1.17.01 PM 500x500 ARMS SUMMER SKILLS [7.8]

Fleeced – ARMS // Buy

Charming songs are those that amble along. They wander slowly down the road to their end point, sometimes stopping to smell the daisies, but never to write manifestos or force through any unnecessary agendas.  They pleasantly fill the gaps when there’s no desire for a particular genre — when there’s simply a need to listen to something nice. Summer Skills, the newest record from ARMS (@armsongs), the project of ex Harlem Shakes guitarist Todd Goldstein, is charm at it’s most pure. The music has no other purpose than to be really solid indie pop. No borders are pushed, no genres bent, no surprises, it’s just good music.

The ambling quality of the music is courtesy of Goldstein’s casual but driving voice. These days, when it feels as though half the records being released use fey male falsetto, the deep richness of Goldstien’s voice is a welcome change. He doesn’t appear to be over-exerting or over-exaggerating his singing, and that’s exactly why his vocals work so damn well. On the track “Sore” he meanders through the verses, clear and easy, and in the process creates a beautiful ballad.

The simple, enjoyable quality of this music is most prominent on “Heat & Hot Water” a model indie pop song. It’s infectious, building upon itself for several minutes and going from soft to loud slowly enough that the explosion feels earned. It’s good to bob around to (I dare you to try and not bounce when you listen, it’s impossible), but it never holds you in rapt attention — and it never tries.

The charm of Summer Skills comes from its ease, its ambling. It’s the recorded version of the friend that everyone likes because s/he’s laid back and never tries too hard to impress. It’s also a record that is easy to come back to — one that will have a permanent ipod spot for those days when everything else seems a bit offensive. The world needs records like this one: good, nice, and something everyone can get behind. ARMS’ Summer Skills will be invited to many parties because it’s just that.


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