Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Archive Review: The Amazing World of Arthur Brown's The Voice of Love (2007)

The Amazing World of Arthur Brown's The Voice of Love
What an odd little bird this one is…when he is remembered, if he is remembered at all, British rocker Arthur Brown is known for his diabolical, psychedelic 1968 hit “Fire,” much beloved by movie music directors and adventurous classic rock radio stations. Although practically defining the concept of the “one hit wonder,” in reality, Brown has been kicking around the biz for over 40 years now, recording about a dozen-and-a-half albums (a few in every decade since the ‘60s), hanging around with fellow eccentrics like Pete Townshend, Klaus Schulze, and Jimmy Carl Black (“the Indian in the group”), and even appearing in a number of films as both actor and musician.

The Voice of Love was recorded a couple of years ago by Brown and fellow Nick Pynn on 2” analogue tape, live performances created with largely handmade instruments (!). The result is a gloriously lo-fi event that manages to sound studio slick, the songs draped in odd instrumentation and delicate arrangements, with plenty of stringed choruses and quiet, organic effects. With a mix of original songs and choice covers, Brown tackles the many facets of love with no little insight and élan.

The music is sheer psych-folk, but it is Brown’s unique pipes that are up front in the mix. His voice often sounds like an old tire, but it remains effective nevertheless, yelping, crooning, and skipping across the lyrics like a stone across a pond, sounding like Solomon Burke one moment, and like a yodeling hillbilly the next. The result is sometimes disconcerting, sometimes emotional, but it’s never, ever dull, with Brown wearing his heart on his sleeve and exploring this ever-elusive theme with passion and soul. Standout Tracks: “Gypsies,” “Shining Bright” (Zoho Music, released September 16th, 2007)

Review originally published by Blurt magazine, 2008

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