Boomkat Product Review:
Restless genius Arca pulls in Garbage’s Shirley Manson, No Bra, Planningtorock, and Oliver Coates for the 4th - and notably more introspective - volume of her ‘Kick’ album bounty.
After expending her wilder energies in searing variations of dembow experimentalism and operatic composition in previous instalments, Arca here looks inward to complete the current album cycle with a quieter take on her sweetly curdled tunings and expressively queered sort of songwriting. The 11 songs feel more contained and finely mark the distance traveled since the first volume emerged in 2020, mostly shorn of beats but full of bittersweet emotion that oozes from her puckered, balladeering arrangements and painterly flourishes of extended melody.
Self-described as “an entry of sensual charge in the cycle; my own faith made into song, a posthuman celestial sparkle, psychosexual pulse-width modulation, queering the void” the album is the patently the most intimate in her decade-long, phase-shifting catalogue. ‘Whoresong’ opens with stripped back soundcraft, all warbling keys and signature, peculiar vocals spotlit like an alien crooner in the corner of smoky gay bar in a sci-fi, while there’s an almost seasonal glow to her chamber styled meld of choral cadence gilded with horns and strings aided by Oliver Coates on ‘Esuna’, prepping for the grand arrival of Planningtorock in ‘Queer’, one of the album’s few beat-driven bits, which they describe as “a queer dream come true”.
Susanne Oberbeck ov No Bra (the legendary project that once feat. sweetie pie Dale Cornish) proves a perfectly droll election to the shivering torchsong ‘Witch’, where the album takes on a brooding avant-grungy tone with percy ‘Boquifloja’, and Shirley Manson gives us a strong dose of ‘90s feels in ‘Alien Inside’ calling to mind aspects of Cindytalk, and we’re also find ourselves drawn heavily to the piloerect burn of trance licks and detuned, minor key Reese bass in ‘Lost Woman Found’.