Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
For a long time, really, as long as my little head can remember, I've never liked walking alone in the dark. It's certainly not a novel fear. It's par for the course, you might say, the click or scrape of a shoe against the concrete, or what-have-you, and the heightened sense of hearing, the claustrophobia, the feeling that things are moving in behind you sneakily, getting closer and closer. It can mess you up. It can make you run or speed-walk. While this is a fear that's always pretty close to making an appearance, at least I have a soundtrack for the phantom stalking. At least, we have something to hum while we're thinking the worst could be literally and figuratively breathing down our necks as the stars and the moon play the roles of silent, sadistic voyeurs. The more we listen to the music that Todd Goldstein, Tlacael Esparza, Matty Fasano and Dave Harrington make under the name ARMS, the more we feel within it a real sense of foreboding. It's hot-blooded and it's pacing its cage. It's a magnificent looking, adult tiger going back and forth behind its bars or behind its glass wall, its mind racing, thinking about what it could do, what it would do with the slightest bit of an opportunity. Its muscles are tight and honed and yet, what we admire, from our point of safety, the sanctuary of our own body, is how gorgeous that killer looks as it thinks about what its going to kill next. As a matter of fact, we admire the hell out of that big cat for thinking its bloody thoughts. We seem to hear a recording of traffic below - from the top of the Empire State Building - or the madness of a wavy ocean at the start of "Sore," and it's pretty, it settles us, but it still feels as if there are some harrowing things occurring within its fibers. We're sure of it. We find ourselves getting restless as we listen. Going down the line, listening to any of the songs included on this session, or the band's debut session, and we can point to moments when we feel that we're losing ground, even when we think all we're witnessing here are the beautiful shavings of romantic heart. On "Face Gravity," Goldstein sings, "The sound of fingers scratching slow behind the wall/You tried to hold me close or so/I wouldn't hear the call/They're on our doorstep/Peeking, gritting through our blinds/We never wear our skeletons right/We keep our closets locked too tight." It's enough to make you panic, hard, but then, in the softness of this darkness and fog that Goldstein sings in, brings with him, he makes you want to stare back, to gaze into those sweet eyes of the peekers even more. We feel that it will be worth it.