Joseph Arthur

Benjamin Short 03/10/2005

“So, where are you off tonight?”

“We're going to see Joseph Arthur at the Student's Union …”

“Joseph's father??”

“No, Joseph Arthur!”

It's possible that the alcohol was responsible for this confused exchange, or maybe the background racket of AC/DC's 'Back In Black' made my Liverpudlian tones even more unfathomable than usual. Whatever, there's no avoiding the fact that the aforementioned Mr. Arthur's profile is lower than the deepest circle of hell. Despite this, he takes to the stage before a crowded Academy 3, alone with his guitar and a plethora of gadgets. Acoustic moments such as ' Echo Park ' (from his latest album 'Our Shadows Will Remain') are interrupted by electronic blasts of sonic shrapnel, and explosions of spirited harmonica. Most spectacular of all is Joseph's voice. “He will fight, he will reveal his knife, they will question his belief”, he sings on 'Leave Us Alone', and his words slice through the blue glow. 'Speed of Light' and 'You are the Dark' are equally astounding. This is music that disobeys all stereotypes, smashing its way into the fourth dimension. Finally, a cover of The Smiths' 'There is a Light and it Never Goes Out' appeases the locals, and Joseph Arthur disappears into the shadows.