Sunday, October 28, 2018


The Arkells take their jobs seriously, and the group is certainly not resting on their now-solid laurels. With album number five, the band is pushing envelopes both lyrically and musically, yet still sounding catchy and exciting.

There's a great deal of empathy across the album, with songs about mental health challenges, people struggling with the crap stuck on them as kids, and friends who are hurting. But there's some new-found anger too, as they found they couldn't hold back from taking aim at what they're witnessing in the U.S. The cut American Screams is like witnessing a nightmare out of the tour bus window: "You keep repeating that wicked catch phrase, painted on the Interstate/All the billboards, they get me lonely/I can't sleep off these American Screams tonight." Later, in People's Champ, they call out Trump for his vanity and worse, and point out we know this ain't going to end well: "I already know how the history books will react."

Even with the heavier topics, the group doesn't let the energy flag, and tries a few new tricks as well. While there's still lots of rock guitar, the beats are bigger this time, and an afro-pop sample drives the single Relentless. Until the final track, the gentle plea to friends who are hurting, the calm Don't Be A Stranger, this is basically a dance party. There's a whole lot of creative confidence going on with Rally Cry, yet it's so fan-friendly, their audience should grow right along with them.

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