Arre! Arre! have been somewhat quiet since their debut album, A.T.T.A.C.K. Back in 2015 the old school blast of surf-rock, feminism, and punk arrived like a breath of fresh air. Despite receiving nomination for Album of the Year at the Swedish P3 Guld awards, the collection wasn’t available outside of Scandinavia until the fall of 2018, when the band signed to PNKSLM Recordings. It’s PNKSLM who are responsible for sharing this new set of tunes, Tell Me All About Them with wider audiences.
In reality, any perceived quietude of the band has been the result of founders Anna Palmer and Katja Nielsen altering the line-up. Seeking the chemical balance to deliver on intention. Experience, or lack of experience, was not a qualification for inclusion. Arre! Arre! set focus on keeping the mentality straight. With sympathetic political edge and punk ethic, Mattis Årestad and Totta Edlund were recruited to the band, and work on the sophomore album began.
There’s a tonal shift here, musically at least, that distinguishes an evolutionary step. In the production booth Joakim Lindberg expands elements to make the assault more attractive. The knuckle-and-punch element of the band remain, and the continuity between Tell Me All About Them and A.T.T.A.C.K. can be felt. However, production focuses a little more on polish and access. Back-up ‘yeah, yeah, yeah’s’ – like those heard in lead single ‘Anthem’ are more obviously radio ready, and sing-alongs more fun. And in this mix there’s the paradox of a tighter band playing in a more breezy manner. Is this the sound of achieving dynamic balance that had so previously concerned Palmer and Neilsen?
Perhaps it’s the effort to polish hooks that have led Arre! Arre! to slightly alter trajectory. Putting an ear on ‘I Feel It All’ reveals a band that has nailed a new trajectory. Community, and a call to arms occurs in the lyrical content. Women are encouraged to stand taller. People of all sexual orientations are encouraged that a tipping point of inclusion can be achieved if we all just owned ourselves. The subjugation of all humans is faced with a combative tone, and so the importance of beats, hooks, and expanded guitar licks balance progress with invitation and a compelling drive to dance.
There’s a matter-of-factness that unfolds across the content of Tell Me All About Them. Lead single, ‘Anthem’ measures out an emotionally quick, intellectually smart dose of common sense. What others (idiots) may feel is confrontational, Arre! Arre! simply perceive as being common sense. Compassion, community, inclusion. It shouldn’t be hard. But here we are, raising our voices to state the obvious.
Vocals here are often high in the mix. Palmer and Nielson make certain that their lyrics are easy to hear. When everything else is treated with pedals, fuzz, and fury – the human voice at the center of process is as clear as day. When encouraging individuals to find, and articulate their own voice Arre! Arre! borrow the line “Nothing compares to you…”. This is not a measure of affection, more a signal of encouragement. When something needs doing there is no one better equipped to handle shit than the person in the position to alter their own destiny. It’s smart stuff.
With Tell Me All About Them Arre! Arre! offer the clearest portrayal of their core values. With the refined vision of it’s founders backed by a more sympathetic approach to production, and with the potential of larger audiences that PNKSLM have placed them in front of them Arre! Arre! are making good on their initial promise. The difficult second album has been addressed fully. More telling is that the band, again, promises more, demands more, and delivers more than anticipated.
HURRY – BUY – ARRE! ARRE! MUSIC
PHOTOGRAPH BY MATILDA BOG