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CD Review: Joseph Arthur

Could We Survive

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The Deal: Prolific singer-songwriter releases the first of four EPs leading up to a full-length in August.

The Good: If he wasn't already, Joseph Arthur is about to move into the seriously prolific singer-songwriter category with his latest, Could We Survive. The six-song EP is the first of four that Arthur will release in 2008, all leading up to full-length All You Need Is Nothing. But the raw acoustic balladry of Survive certainly stands alone. Channeling another wavery-voiced political songwriter, Arthur dives immediately into the heart-wrenching protest song "Rages of Babylon" with a Dylan-like fair for nose-on-the-head lyricism. If you managed to get past that one without shedding a tear or listening five times on repeat, Survive proceeds to take a welcome stroll into more lighthearted fare, all beautifully tied together by Arthur's signature swirling and layered choruses and ringing acoustic guitar. Arthur's rough-hewn, somewhat deadpan vocals just make Survive feel all the more organic – which fans of his earlier, more acoustic work will appreciate.

The Bad: Lets be honest – even the greatest six-song EP in the world is going to get old after about five spins. Arthur takes a risk by not fleshing out Survive into a full-length.

The Verdict: If you're a superfan, or just a fan of Arthur's more mellow acoustic work, Survive is a must have. And if the first of five releases is any indication of what's to come, this snippet that leaves you wanting more may be Arthur's best marketing ploy yet.

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