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Emerging Artists, Week 9: Arthur & Yu by caclarks
April 22, 2008, 8:00 pm
Filed under: Emerging Artists | Tags: , ,

One of my favorite records is Nancy Sinatra’s Nancy in London. It’s not only filled with classics like “Wishin’ and Hopin’” and “Summer Wine,”but also features cover art with Nancy at the height of 60s chic, jauntily perched on a London bus. So when I read a review of the Seattle-based band Arthur and Yu, comparing the band to Sinatra and country legend Lee Hazelwood, I had high expectations. And they were met.

Arthur and Yu are the childhood nicknames of Grant Olsen and Sonya Westcott. The two trade vocals amidst pop-guitar melodies and harmonies, but their collaboration is never forced. This is exemplified in their first full-length album, In Camera, also the first album released by Hardly Art, the new label by Sub Pop Records founder Jonathan Poneman. 

 “Come to View (Song for Neil Young)” opens with quiet, almost tentative vocals. Olsen’s echo-filled lyrics wedge themselves nicely into Westcott’s soft chants. The song floats around reverb and acoustic guitars, while maintaining a pure sound that would be a perfect soundtrack for the last day of class. “The Ghost of Old Bull Lee” begins with an up tempo beat that elicits toe-tapping. The hooks are catchy, and at around two and a half minutes, the song’s repetitive structure doesn’t get old.

Arthur and Yu make quiet pop music suitable for constant repeat. In Camera is a testament to their talent as singer-songwriters and a solid album from start to finish. The band has a few upcoming live performances on the West Coast. 


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