Arthur & Martha - Navigation

Those who do grab a copy will more than likely feel pretty pleased with themselves.

Label: Happy Robots

Rating: 7

We are in the midst if an electro-pop revolution at the moment and the way of the world clearly states that some crap will filter through to make mainstream millions and other delightful sounds will fall short. But the pleasure of holding those that fall short of their deserved notoriety is firmly in keeping them all to your self. Something many will no doubt do with Arthur and Martha’s debut. Blessed with less coverage but a greater level of subtlety this pair, real names Adam Cresswell and Alice Hubley, know they cant waste half the record reeling you in, but you could be forgiven for not noticing them exactly going for the jugular. Even when someone starts fiddling with the radio in the background in a vague attempt to find Capital Gold and the refrain has repeated itself a thousand times it will take a Herculean will to not be won over by ‘Autovia’ and its smooth, caressing vocals.

That is all the introduction you get and ‘Navigation’ kicks into gear with ‘Music for Hairproducts’. The atmospheric and engulfing take combining early eighties indie-pop with ‘ray of light’ era Madonna bombards you with “sha-la-las” and bassy grooves before making way for the Male vocal of ‘Kasparov’; Which bridges the gap between James Yuill and New Order, in both sound and quality stakes, with ease and is undoubtedly one of the high points this LP has to offer. The title track and ‘Vallorian’ both echo real C86 pop with the full electronic makeover and the 80s ante is upped even further with ‘Memory’ and ‘This City Life’, the former echoing a graceful approach to Depeche Mode. The albums only let down is the quaint, but slightly dull and unimpressive ‘Follow The Path’ and whether it is intentionally placed their as a respite or not is hard to decipher. It fits in well with the dreamy nature of the record in general but lacks the lasting impression that so many of the other tracks benefit from.

‘Navigation’ isn’t going to cross over and blow people out of the water, sell millions and be left on everybody’s shelf, but those who do grab a copy will more than likely feel pretty pleased with themselves and play it half to death.