Big City Secrets

Big City Secrets

by Joseph Arthur

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Big City Secrets

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.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/23/1997
Label: Emi Europe Generic
UPC: 0724384217723
catalogNumber: 8421772

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Joseph Arthur   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
Brian 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
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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