Arp | More | New Music Review
Let's call a spade a spade—this is the Hipster Sound in its purest form, for better or worse. Arp’s More is British Invasion presented by The Strokes, with a touch of “Penny Lane” derivative on keys. You with me so far? Bueno.
Now, the man behind the creation, Alexis Georgopolos, and his people will remind you this is a very New York album—(of course it is)—and they’re quite right. Tracks cross Clap Your Hands Say Yeah with a blotter sheet of early Philip Glass to make this set hip-as-thieves to the ear—whether you like it or not is, accordingly, beside the point.
And I won’t sit here knocking Georgopolos’ ability as a songsmith—the fellow’s personally responsible for most of the sounds on More, and those pipes can whistle, too—but the real issue with his Arp persona is he doesn’t know if he wants to make Transformer or Ummagumma with his debut (traditionally speaking) song cycle—“More (Blues)” is his skeleton for a “Perfect Day;” “E2 Octopus” his “Narrow Way.” The rest of the songs fill in blanks with varying effect.
In the past, Georgopolos has worked as a composer on a smorgasbord of projects (I’ll drop a couple of ‘em later, promise, Al), and he’s certainly gathered himself a following in circles. Here, though, he can’t quite bring himself to abandon those avant-garde-baroque-meets-bare-bones-psychedelic dabblings long enough to smooth his cuts to a handful of acceptable three-minute clips. None of the tracks are particularly bad—except the subtly pretentious nothingness on the song for Charlemagne Palestine (whoever the hell that is), during which I had to skip nearly four minutes of recycling pianist-monotony for fear of lapsing into a jolly migraine—but none are really all that great, either. Arp wanted to pen “When I’m Sixty-Four;” he came up with “Octopus’s Garden.”
The penguins who’ll raise their monocles to read Arp already have. He’s one of those indies with enough clout to sell some vinyl in Brooklyn and maybe Fog City, and that’s alright. Still, don’t count me among the initiated; won’t catch me whispering with the young esoterics: Look! He’s biting doo-wop AND The Beatles—what an artiste! (Amazing, he cut his teeth in avant-garde circles, too!) Just because Georgopolos has done everything—soundtracking Chanel to curating The Kitchen and beyond—doesn’t mean that “A Tiger in the Hall at Versailles” is any more understated profundity, any less dullard theme on a short loop. Nope, I apologize, but at the end of the day, here’s lookin’ at Arp, the organist who was too damn cool for the Lonely Hearts Club Band.