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Review of Archive's latest album "Calls to Arms & Angels"

July 09, 2022 — Nico Cartron

Archive released their latest album last month, here's a quick review.

Music tag?

Yep, I love listening to music and therefore I want to write a bit more on that topic, so expect some more articles in the future!

Archive and I

Archive is a British band that I have been following for... quite a while.
I discovered their first album, "Londinium", when I was still at High School (I was 16 years old), and have been listening to them since then.

Of course, the band's music style has changed significantly since Londinium (1996) and Take My Head (1999), but I think that's precisely one of the reasons why I like them so much - very much like Radiohead, who keeps reinventing themselves.

"Calls to Arms & Angels" is the band's 12th album - even though I'm following them since the beginning, there's a few albums which really stand out for me:

  • Londinium (1996)
  • Take My Head (1999)
  • You all Look the Same to Me (2002)
  • Noise (2004)
  • Lights (2006)
  • Controlling Crowds (2009)

As for the rest of the albums, there's a few (Axiom, Restriction) which I didn't really get into, and others (The False Foundation) which were released at a time where I was too busy to pay attention :|

The album


The first thing which struck me was "jeez, that's a lot of songs!"
And indeed, there are 17 songs, for a duration of 1h43 - basically a double LP:

Now, granted that just having almost 2 hours of song does not necessarily means a good album, but it's rare enough these days (where most albums are less than 1 hour) that I noticed.

First listening

As usual when discovering a new album, I just played it straight, without focusing too much - really just wanting to get into it.

Then I did it with headsets, to really focus and get to know each song, music instrument and sound.

Finally, I listened the album in repeat mode while doing some DIY stuff at home.

Songs standing out

  • Surrounded By Ghosts: a very soft, quiet song - perfect to start the album
  • Mr Daisy: 2nd song, quite the opposite, very lively, with drums everywhere and a male singer, where SbG was all about piano and a female singer.
  • Daytime Coma: it's very much in the same vein as "Again", "Finding it so Hard", "Lights" or "Controlling Crowds"
    • it's a (quite) long song: 14'34
    • it has very specific parts, making it super enjoyable: quite one, then a bit more energetic
  • Freedom: Again (pun intended), makes me think of another album (Londinium) with its rap style. Also quite a long song (~9') with changes in the rythm.
  • We Are The Same: very enjoyable rythm and deep lyrics.
  • Gold: the beginning of the song is a bit weird, as it almost feels like ghosts singing. But it becomes interesting around 2', with some piano and the singer's louder voice, to culminate really starting at 4'20, going crescendo until the end of the song.

Wrap Up

Maybe that's because I didn't take the time to properly listen to their 2 previous albums (Restriction and The False Foundation), but I was happy to "properly" take the time to discover Call to Arms & Angels.

I have now bought my ticket for Archive's show at Paris Accor Arena in November '22. I hope the acoustic will be better than in March when I saw Vitalic - I'll probably make a short blog article soon on that gig too.

Anyway, if you like Archive, should you be a long-time fan like me, or someone who discovered them more recently, I highly recommend listening to the album, as I bet you won't be disappointed.

Tags: Music, English