This is the Arrival
1. A Million Kicks
2. Teenage Love
It happens once in a blue moon. A band releases a sophomore record that changes everything. That reaches for the stars with rampant force. That leaves you breathless and even awed. Ladies and gentlemen: This is the Arrival.
With “A Million Kicks”, the four likeable twenty-somethings from Munich have, with remarkable ease, achieved what others only dare dreaming of: The genesis of a sound that, while utterly their own, could soon be filling stadiums everywhere.
Almost effortlessly, the group around singer Mario Clement boot us onto a fairground that recalls the atmosphere in Gaspar Noe’s “Enter the Void” – a cascade of sounds and sights, with countless aural attractions and leftfield compositions dizzying and dazing the visitor.
In fact, intoxication seems to be an essential part of the equation for both listeners and producers of this sizzling record. According to bassist Martin ‘Hot’ Brugger, the fun started with the collective dinner preparations in the studio: “To wash down your food, you need an appropriate amount of red wine and beer – both of which played their parts in the making of the album.”
The result is something that will soundtrack nerds and party people uniting in a sweaty embrace – a phonic stimulant of the highest order. Loud, unique, emotionally nuanced, with huge gestures and sensations.
“I’m addicted to the good life.”
Apart from the gorgeously detailed and layered beat constructions – created under the sharp eyes and ears of congenial producer Ron Flieger – it’s Mario’s vocal range, which encompasses Bon Iver-esque fragility,Hot Hot Heat’s exuberance and Robert Smith’s bohemian serenity, that impresses most. He has the ability and the inclination to “use the voice as an instrument”.
“Different, daring, truthful” – these are the words with which the band describe the development of this emotional rollercoaster ride. New avenues were explored: “We wanted to break with the stuffy indie-jangle-guitar sound. The simplicity of a hip hop song (a beat and vocals) was a much bigger challenge”, says guitarist (and future synth man) Timo. Piet, the drummer, explains This is the Arrival’s lovingly fine-tuned and yet headstrong sound thus: “During the making of “A Million Kicks”, there weren’t any fixed roles within the band. This meant that the ideas took centre stage and everyone, no matter what instrument they might be holding at the time, could get his thoughts across.”
This approach was helped by a close friendship that has spanned more than a decade and has survived several frank but friendly discussions. Of course, there were more points of inspiration. Mario, who is half-Brazilian, knows a few of the millions of kicks life can dish out - such as the premature death of his father. Life also provides moments of elation, like your first love and the continuing search for the new. But Mario also names books as important sources of inspiration, such as Umberto Eco’s “The Open Work”, or Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby”. Films like “Black Swan”. Last but not least, there’s music from wildly different genres - Jamie Lidell, German rap sensation Casper, Jay-Z. You can’t help but believe Mario when he sings” “You feel more than one heart can take”.
So as the visitors tumble out of the musical fairground, there remains only one thing left to do: to hurl their bumper car, whooping and sobbing, towards the sunset. High on life. Driven and stricken. Propelled onwards by A Million Kicks.