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ARMS ALOFT – ‘What A Time To Be Barely Alive’ Album Review

ARMS ALOFT – What A Time To Be Barely Alive

arms-aloftOpening with some bare guitar strums behind a plaintive voice, Arms Aloft channel Airborne Toxic Event before they launch into a melodic and strong first track on their new album. We Have Nothing To Lose But Our Chains shows the Wisconsin group in fine form with power, melody and anger packaged into a super song. The pace continues on Three Alters For Rats where left leaning politics are supported by some Husker Du style construction.

The Truth Is Out There deals with global warming and the dumbing down of society. There’s a Bruce Springsteen/Gaslight Anthem feel to the song in terms of the singers delivery and the guitar work. It’s an excellent track and one of the stand-outs on a strong album. The band moves up the speed dial with The Voyage Of The Dawnreaders and adds an anthem like chorus to some complex rhythm changes.

The title track, What A Time To Be Barely Alive is a rollicking roller coaster ride with an, ahem, arms aloft style chorus (couldn’t resist that!). Arms Aloft return to the opening track vibe with Hollowlujah with a stripped down guitar and voice approach (think early Billy Bragg) whilst the seventh track, Untitled is two minutes and eighteen seconds of drum fuelled punk rock…it benefits from being placed next to the stripped down prior song and had me playing the ‘air drums!’

I Want To Be Leaves showcases the melodic side to the group with a super ending of interplay between bass, guitar and drums. Arms Aloft are clearly an accomplished band with some excellent playing and songwriting. Sloslyls Is Playing At My House offers some fast paced punk whilst West Grand Ave. Maria winds everything down as it laments the struggle of getting by in todays world. The change of pace makes the song all the more powerful.arms-aloftband

The album closes with …And A World To Win – an uplifting call to arms that neatly closes a great album. Check out the band and album here


Track Listing

  1. Nothing to Lose but Our Chains
  2. Three Alters for Rats
  3. The Truth is out There
  4. Voyage of the Dawndreaders
  5. What a Time to be Barely Alive
  6. Hollowlujah
  7. Untitled
  8. I Want to be Leaves
  9. Sloslyls is Playing at my House
  10. A Psalm for our Job and Apartments
  11. West Grand Ave Maria
  12. And a World to Win






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