October 19, 2006
Haunting daydreams a la Joseph Arthur
Singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur sounds as inviting and haunted as ever on his fifth and newest album, “Nuclear Daydream,” the first release on his new Lonely Astronaut label. It's an impressive combination to pull off, and Arthur – who was championed by Peter Gabriel when he made his recording debut a decade ago – handles this sunny yet dark musical mix better than most.
The Ohio native recently rerecorded his stirring 2000 ballad, “In the Sun,” with R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe (at Stipe's behest) as an iTunes EP to benefit victims of Hurricane Katrina. But Arthur's new album should be the likely focus of his show tonight at House of Blues' intimate Fifth Avenue Stage with his new band, which features members of Golden Smog, Telescope and Furslide.
The dozen-song “Nuclear Daydream” fuses brooding lyrics with understated melodies that quietly burrow into your subconscious. Arthur expertly channels Neil Young on “Black Lexus” and David Bowie on the moody “Don't Give Up on People,” but the best songs here are all him, and that's saying something.