The Prayers & Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers "The Mother of Love Emulates the Shapes of Cynthia"
The beauty of this album does not come in the form of striking originality or innovation; the beauty of this album is it's ability to substitute for a hot cup of tea and a blanket in front of the fire. The production is so intimate and the music so warming, it's like the prayers and tears of arthur digby sellers was created by your lover just to make you feel better on a bad day.
In fact, maybe it is the familiarity of this music that makes it so comforting. Some of the piano-and-vocal parts of "Above the Waves (Pluripotency)" remind me of the album that made Fiona Apple famous. "Raise Up, You Celestial Choirs" has elements of church hymns to it. And the beginning lyrics of "Concerning Lessons Learned From the Aliens" remind me a lot of Radiohead's "Subterranean Homesick Alien."
But this album could be defined as much by what it is as what it is not.
The lyrics are how I like 'em: a little disjointed but coherent and occasionally metaphoric. "It's smoking and violent./ My temple is hollow and red./...And god knows we all try/ But radios still die," Perry Wright sings in "The Slow Decay of Some Radio Afterglows." You know he's probably not really talking about radios, but you're left to decide the true meaning for yourself.
The music is how I like it too, subtle without being sleepy; it combines unexpected effects and instruments with very tight musical compositions. "The Sad Lives of the Hollywood Lovers" is an excellent example of this. Using violin, acoustic guitar, quiet female back-up vocals, and multiple other string instruments I can't name, it weaves a sad picture to match the lyrics and then crescendos beautifully and skillfully, leaving you as spent and empty as the lovers Wright has sung about.
Perry Wright's gentle singing is emotional, but it makes you sympathize with him, rather than want to bludgeon him with the nearest heavy object to put him out of his misery. And though his lyrics could go over the edge of ridiculousness if he pushed too hard, you instead almost believe him when he sings things like, "My bones are hollow/ And I have wings behind my shoulders." Since getting your audience to believe your earnestness seems to be one of the hardest parts of singing, which can make or break the whole band, I'd say Wright's got the talent to carry them.
So while this album won't blow your mind - while it couldn't be sold as new and improved - it's built on a formula that didn't really need fixing, that's as personal and nostalgic as that blanket you've had since you were a child, and it will continue to keep you company for as long as you need it. 7/10 -- Eden Hemming Rose (25 May, 2005)