Big City Secrets

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Evan Cater
Joseph Arthur refers to his music as "someone struggling to heal over experimental folk-rock." His major-label career began after he received an unexpected answering machine message from Peter Gabriel offering him a contract on Gabriel's Real World label. Arthur's music employs a wide range of musical influences, adorning his songs with instruments as diverse as hurdy gurdy, corn horn, Venetian xylophone, caxixi, birimbau and harmonic missles. Experimental folk-rock is an apt label for such eclectic instrumentation. As for "struggling to heal," Arthur's strategy appears to be to heal through catharsis. His lyrics are populated with angsty lines like "You're easy for me to ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Evan Cater
Joseph Arthur refers to his music as "someone struggling to heal over experimental folk-rock." His major-label career began after he received an unexpected answering machine message from Peter Gabriel offering him a contract on Gabriel's Real World label. Arthur's music employs a wide range of musical influences, adorning his songs with instruments as diverse as hurdy gurdy, corn horn, Venetian xylophone, caxixi, birimbau and harmonic missles. Experimental folk-rock is an apt label for such eclectic instrumentation. As for "struggling to heal," Arthur's strategy appears to be to heal through catharsis. His lyrics are populated with angsty lines like "You're easy for me to bleed on," "Put my daddy on Prozac, I don't think I want him back" and "You became a spider as I fed you the blood from my nose." All that "healing" can get to be a bit overbearing, especially when expressed in Arthur's tortured vocals. In his most restrained moments, his voice resembles David Rice or Jeffrey Gaines, but at his most extreme he's a dead ringer for Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins. The songwriting is at its best when Arthur uses his sharp ear for melody, as on "Mikel K," "Big City Secret," and the harmonica-driven "Mercedes," which features background vocals from Brian Eno and Gabriel himself. The album's weaker offerings "Desert," "Porcupine" have a tendency to drone tunelessly. But even then the weakness of the melody is somewhat mitigated by the inventiveness of the arrangements, and it's easy to see what attracted Gabriel to this promising artist.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/23/1997
  • Label: Emi Europe Generic
  • UPC: 724384217723
  • Catalog Number: 8421772

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Big City Secrets (4:37)
  2. 2 Mercedes (6:18)
  3. 3 Mikel K (3:54)
  4. 4 Good About Me (4:58)
  5. 5 Daddy's on Prozac (4:05)
  6. 6 Marina (4:03)
  7. 7 Birthday Card (5:36)
  8. 8 Crying Like a Man (6:16)
  9. 9 Porcupine (4:42)
  10. 10 Dessert (1:05)
  11. 11 Haunted Eyes (4:44)
  12. 12 Bottle of You (5:29)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Joseph Arthur Primary Artist, Primary Artist, Bass, Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
Peter Gabriel Background Vocals
Ron Aslan Drum Loop
Martyn Barker Percussion, Drums, Gong, Berimbau, Caxixi, Snare Drums
Markus Dravs Percussion, Accordion, Drums, Horn, Keyboards, Sheet Metal
Nigel Eaton Hurdy-Gurdy
Eno Vocals, Background Vocals
Nick Plytas Mellotron
Ashley Slater Trombone
Roger Beaujolais Xylophone, Vibes
Simon Edwards Bass, Guitar, Harmonica, Piano, Berimbau, Mellotron
Technical Credits
Ray Martin Engineer
Martyn Barker Contributor
Markus Dravs Producer, drum programming
Goetz Botzenhardt Engineer
Ben Findlay Engineer, Contributor, Digital Editing
Joseph Arthur Illustrations, Paintings, Drawing
Ruadhri Cushnan Engineer
Nick Kirkland Engineer, Contributor
Ibi Tijani Engineer
Jacquie Turner Engineer
Tristan Manco Graphic Design
Simon Edwards Arranger
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