Four years ago, after playing the Café circuit in London, and then forming as a band, Arda & The Stolen Moon – a project that showcases the talent of Cyprian singer-songwriter Arda – hooked up with producer Robert Camassa to produce the critically acclaimed album “Minutes into Years”. The same team hit the studio last year to complete a brand new collection of songs, titled “Outsider in Perpetual Motion”, set for release on May 28th in very limited 180grms white/purple splatter LP, limited Digipak CD and ultra-limited cassette as well as digital. The band is also looking forward to playing live again once the pandemic subsides.
Describing Arda & The Stolen Moon’s latest work comes down to a toss-up between cinematic storytelling and clever musical interplay. Both in the studio and in her videos, Arda is captivating, expansive, and empathetic. She slyly earns your attention with clever vocal hooks, witty turns of phrase, or by alluring tones, and then she reels you in further. She convinces you to take another step closer, and look a little deeper at the subjects she sings about.
Many will be quickly drawn in by “Emotional Hacking” the opening rocking track of her new album, for its cute power, and the smoky vocals. But what sticks in the end are her clever lyrical twists and the huge scope of what at first sounds like a simple upbeat song. Here Arda literally rips to shreds the social media, the influencers and the fickle artificial trends the freewheeling use of technology induces.
“The Duke of Icicle”, featuring Stefanos Georgiades of The Delirium Elephants on vocals, introduces a different sonic template. The flurry of jangling guitars and insistent drums, are propelled by layered vocals and mellifluous choruses, in what is described as “part fable, part ecological reality.”
On “Signals” Arda shares the vocals with Jazz chanteuse Sarah Fenwick. The soft wistfulness of their voices, together with Robert Camassa’s poignant and thoughtful production, blends to successfully balance modernism and naturalism. Arda & The Stolen Moon’s lyrical depth, intelligence and poetic prowess comes through solidly here. Arda also has a viscerally evocative, way around the instruments the music employs.
The more you listen to the songs on this album, the more you hear Arda telling her stories with masterful imagery and in intensely characterized, smart narrative. However the music cannot be ignored, as Camassa steps up the intensity on “Twenty63”, bringing in crunchy guitars and resonant brass to maintain a dynamic and powerful momentum, underneath a humorous and prophetic narrative. The theme of love can almost never be ignored in any collection of songs, and “Wishing” maintains that formula with another splendid vocal performance from Arda.
Producer Camassa throws a bombastic contrast into the arrangement, a third of the way down which is meant to emphasize a specific twist in the narrative. “The Pebble in My Shoe” is about understanding how we often badly balance our attention between pettiness and things of significant importance.
Against a terse, upbeat musical backdrop, “Upset the Apple Cart” boldly affronts the theme of women’s abuse around the world, before sliding into the acoustic-driven wash of “Monkeys”, and finally closing with the fully fleshed out “Fools & a Molina Moon” that deals with a love/hate relationship. The song features soulful and fiery guitar interludes.
In general these songs are among the best Arda & The Stolen Moon has written and recorded thus far, while the production and musicality here is a huge advance over earlier works. All things said, Arda delivers an outstanding album with “Outsider in Perpetual Motion”, which continues her progression as a musician.