Paper Garden Records, 2016

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


Todd Goldstein (guitarist for Harlem Shakes) began ARMS as a solo project way back in 2004. While Harlem Shakes consumed most of Goldstein's time, he still continued penning songs in his bedroom at the height of the their fame. After Harlem Shakes disbanded in 2009, Goldstein turned ARMS into a full band affair, aligning himself with Tiacael Esparza plus many guests on this third album.  my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“Laughing Academy” starts the album off with a quick, pop focused energy that's full of '80s nods and fun, memorable guitar riffs. This carries over into the darker and rumbling “Keep It Light,” which brings in a nice addition of horns. “Stellary” is where the pace slows down into a soulful, bluesy ballad, with saxophone solos and a warm, calm groove that extends into the piano-heavy melancholy of “Goodbye To All That.”

The second half of the album leads with “Red Rover,” a blurry, atmospheric, moody instrumental that's as sparse as it is mesmerizing, before the driving '80's influenced pop-rock of “All 4s,” a track that could easily make its way onto the FM dial. “Turnstiles” brings the band to a slow burning, soulful place, something that is antipodal to the rapid, busy, throwback sounds of “Missing,” perhaps the most '80s inspired moment of the album. The album closes on the hazy, ominous, and synth effects of “Sticks & Stones.” This initially appears to be an odd conclusion, but it logically finishes off an eclectic album with a mishmash of influences.

While I'm sure fans of Harlem Shake were devastated by their disbanding, on the bright side, it did allow Todd Goldstein to focus his efforts into ARMS. This is an album that is full of bright, layered, rock vigor, without ever abandoning the introspective, slower moments of thoughtfulness. Fans of guitar-pop who don't shy away from flugelhorns, trumpets, and saxophones should pull up a seat here.

Rating: B+

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