The secret of being a successful artist is, in my opinion, being instantly recognisable. So that by the time a song has been playing for less than a minute the listener knows who it is. Having a sound that is immediately your own, irrespective of influences or frailties therein. I think Arthur and Martha have cracked it.
From the opener ‘Autovia’ (imagine Kraftwerk remixing the Brookside theme as Harry Cross experiments with a theremin) and beyond, this is unmistakeably Arthur and Martha. Female-fronted electronica with an unashamed glance back to Eighties beepy purveyors like OMD, Visage and New Order.
‘Kasparov’ signifies a change, featuring an acoustic guitar and Arthur on vocals. An Arthur with a (silicon?) chip on his shoulder…‘I wish you could see/ you mean nothing to me/ I’ve never felt this good before’.
‘Vallorian’ is back to the Krautypop they do so well, but ‘Navigation’ exposes a frail human side, the minimal, slow, gloopy sounds topped with Martha’s matter of fact dealings with ‘things that got in our way’. ‘This City Life’ advises us to ‘just keep abreast of urban loneliness/ by staying out’, whilst ‘Squarewave To Heaven’ is four and a half minutes of track which my colleague here at Sounds XP once described as ‘a trance-inducing stroke of pulse-pop genius that could almost persuade you that pure maths is the new rock’n’roll’. Quite.
We finish with ‘Turn To Dust’, an anthemic, end-of-gig and end-of-album number that’s crying out for a remix.
‘Navigation’. The sound of Arthur and Martha. Spot it a mile off.