The debut album from electro pop duo Arthur And Martha commences with Autovia which has robotic Grace Jones style vocals and an expansive eighties new romantic sound. It cascades plumes of electro melody down over the listener, while a thumping electronic heartbeat keeps things on an even keel. It’s like Saint Etienne gone ridiculously grandiose and it works wonderfully. Music For Hair Products has a tune that’s like a pumped up version of Visage’s Fade To Grey, replete with new romantic thunderclaps. The vocals show a steely female determination, coupled with an icy cool. Kasparov passes over to male vocals, the tune a cold war heartless thing, all lonely sounding synths. It has a New Order cool, with the vocals sounding like a particularly dispassionate Barney Sumner. Vallorian is the most straight forward thing so far, gorgeous female vocals floating over a dreamy melody, one that burbles away delightfully. Navigation is a life support machine on its last legs, which suddenly gives way to a second wind half way through. Follow The Path is like an instrumental remix of Enola Gay with added pep. Memory is an ever increasing and climbing fast disco beat, with a disenfranchised hymnal vocal. To a clicking beat This City Life is a journal through the city at night in a sound proof car, blocking out all the noise and just viewing the hustle and bustle of the night life. Squarewave To Heaven is an English take on Kraftwerk and their Trans Europe Express, spiritually rather than actually you understand. Finally Turn To Dust is an elegiac end to the album, a rumbling ponderance of things. One of the best albums of the year so far.
Navigation is released by Happy Robots on July 6th
Arthur and Martha myspace is here