Arthur Beatrice at the ICA
Despite being arguably one of the stand-out records of 2014, Working Out by Arthur Beatrice didn’t garner the critical success that an album of its immense quality deserved. Not to be cowed by unfulfilled promise, it is very much a case of “if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again” at the ICA, as Arthur Beatrice demonstrate their scarcely believable ability to the packed venue.
Drawing largely from their upcoming sophomore effort Keeping the Peace, their show has a test-drive air to it. It’s understandable as Arthur Beatrice are sporting a new line-up, backed by the wonderful London Contemporary Orchestra, and are also playing a plethora of new songs for the first time. Their openers Worry and Who Returned graciously remind the audience of what’s been missing over the last year. Ella Girardot, packing a set of pipes that would make Aretha Franklin blush, immediately owns the venue, skipping effortlessly between high and low notes and proving yet again that nothing stands in the way of pure, unadulterated vocal power. The rest of the band aren’t too shabby either, providing more than an ample base for Ella to shine from.
The delicately light Healing is followed by the punchy All I Ask, with deft strings and horns backing every intricate chord progression. Their second single Real Life is the star of the show, displaying the kind of song-writing ability that has Arthur Beatrice rubbing shoulders with the best contemporary pop musicians out there.
Keeping the Peace might just be the record that takes Arthur Beatrice out of the pack and into the lead of the ever-saturated contemporary music scene. Theirs is a unique talent, the likes of which deserves more recognition than they are currently receiving. Success is never guaranteed, but based on their performance, Arthur Beatrice have as good a chance as anyone of achieving it.
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Watch the video for Real Life here: