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Joseph Arthur
REDEMPTIONíS SON
(ENJOY/UNIVERSAL)

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The sensitive, sweet-voiced young men whoíre getting lumped into the current singer-songwriter revival are attracting attention in part because of the eye-of-the-hurricane qualities of their arrangements: Ryan Adams on stage with just an acoustic guitar feels like a revelation when other guys his age are stomping around with overzealous bassists and superfluous DJs behind them. On his third solo album, the New YorkĖbased Joseph Arthur creates some effective quiet-storm moments, but whatís most noteworthy here is the way he marries singer-songwriter intimacy to modern rockís preoccupation with brooding textural depth ó the majority of these songs (which were mixed by brooding textural master Tchad Blake) start out as stripped-down confessionals and end up being full-blown art-rock production numbers. When Arthurís writing hits its mark, as on the delicately spiritual title track and the plainspoken "Dear Lord," the combination is powerful, his heavy-hearted anxiety being mirrored by the elegantly roiling electronic arrangements. When it doesnít, as on "Letís Embrace," in which he invites a crush to "come up to my place and then letís embrace," he sounds like Pete Yorn with an inflated recording budget.

BY MIKAEL WOOD

Issue Date: December 5 - 12, 2002
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