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Preoccupations are frantic in the face of the end of the world on Arrangements

"Arrangements"

Release date: 10 September 2022
8/10
Preoccupations arrangements art
09 September 2022, 00:00 Written by Narzra Ahmed
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Canadian quartet Preoccupations have returned with their self-released, seven-track fourth album Arrangements, and It certainly makes for an intense experience.

While most of us are trying to move on with our lives post-pandemic, Arrangements was created at a time when things were pretty unpredictable and, at times, hopeless. This is reflected in the songs on this album.

Opening track “Fix Bayonets!” begins in a frenetic manner with the urgent sound of guitar strings. Preoccupations are not here to mess about. The first few seconds of the track give you a taste of exactly what they're offering up – it throws you into the deep end, welcomes you, even. The post-punk collective introduces an accompanying new synth-based sound on this album, tagging alongside the frantic guitars.

Again, “Ricochet” starts in an almost unnerving way, as vocalist and bassist Matt Flegel sings about “decay” and “the bitter end”. In a statement, Flegel addressed the dark lyrics, saying: “The lyrics are pretty conspicuous and self-explanatory on this one, but it’s basically about the world blowing up and no one giving a shit.”

The album has been in the works since 2019 and the pandemic prevented an earlier release, however it gave the band the opportunity to revisit their earlier releases and draw inspiration from them. Arrangements follows their 2018 album New Material, while previous single “Death of Melody” is a nod to the sounds they produced on their self-titled debut album, taking inspiration from Bowie, among others. “Slowly” is melodic, anthemic and somewhat romantic (“Disappearing into the ether at four o’clock in the morning, with the world spinning slowly”).

Album closer “Tearing Up The Grass” is a six-minute track, which is deceivingly upbeat, considering the dark lyrics with Flegel speaking honestly about feeling “nervous” in the face of the universe.

Arrangements pushes back against some complaints about predictability on their last LP. With this new album, they have presented seven brilliant and varied tracks, which are engaging and yet remind of the existential feelings we all struggled with during the past few years. Despite only being seven tracks long, this album is substantial and will keep audiences invested.

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