Arrivalists – Last of the Written Pages – Album Review
by Killian Laher
Last of the Written Pages is the first full-length album from Pat Barrett in the guise of Arrivalists. Formerly in Ten Speed Racer and The Hedge Schools, Barrett’s music is something that once you discover it you won’t forget it, you are sort of changed by it. This album creates a moment of serenity.
It opens with Arthritis Wedding Ring, which sets a tone of steady percussion, subtle keyboards, some guitar and Barrett’s airy, soulful voice. The Books Are Piling Up is all kinds of loveliness, conjuring up a similar feeling to some of the material on Nick Cave and Warren Ellis’ recent Carnage album. Many of the recent albums Pat Barrett has been involved with resonate even more the deeper into the album you get. Cities was one of the highlights of last year’s The Whitman One’s EP, and it’s repurposed here in a lower key. The guitar picking is beautifully played, it’s a real highlight, one of the best songs Barrett has ever written, it almost floats away towards the end.
Station Depart is more moody guitar strumming, with some gorgeous lyrics: “a kiss on the cheek can mean so much more than a kiss on the cheek”, which sound impossibly romantic. The highs keep coming on this album, Little Triumphs combines gentle guitar picking with moody keyboard swirls, and The Bees is particularly heartfelt. Two of the finest songs are towards the end of the album, the dark keyboard wash of Snowest Man and the relaxed, end of summer evoking strum Threads. To finish, the title track is a fully instrumental zen-like keyboard piece.
The music here is highly personal, there is nothing manufactured, songs are crafted with real feeling. Probably the loveliest album of the year, those who already know Pat Barrett’s music will love it, and it will hopefully drag a few more in. It’s available here.