When Che Arthur embarked on a solo career alongside his five-year stint with scuffed-up Chicago noise-punks Atombombpocketknife, you might've expected him to slow down and mellow out some. Not bloody likely. His 2003 solo debut, All of Your Tomorrows Were Decided Today, still thrashed about with chaotic zeal, even as Arthur played every instrument but drums. His new one, Iron, balances high-impact rock (the Hüsker Dü-ish "Dead Trajectories") with more introspective moments like "Bistrica." There's still an almost cosmic interlacing of conflicting sounds, something that can be attributed to the years Arthur has spent doing sound for such touring bands as Pelican, Shellac and Don Caballero. "The Dark War" has the mournful croak of latter-day Johnny Cash and, for better or worse, the freshly wounded lyrics of a teenage poet. If Arthur, now living in Austin, hasn't found precisely his own sound, perhaps it's because he has his hands in so many different things at once. Even so, his quiet songs are as creepy and gripping (there's an Iron Acoustic EP on the way) as his loud ones are ferocious and unpredictable, which should make for one hell of an explosion when they meet live.
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