Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Perfect Saviors gleams with The Armed’s ambition

"Perfect Saviors"

Release date: 25 August 2023
The Armed Perfect Saviors cover
22 August 2023, 09:00 Written by Steven Loftin

“Does anyone even know you? Does anyone even care?” vocalist Tony Wolski angelically prods on “Sport of Form”, The Armed’s rapturously monstrous returning single.

Eventually, he’s joined by the rest of the band – including a harmonious guest spot from Julien Baker. It’s here the thesis of Perfect Saviors becomes apparent.

While not an exclusive concept, the idea surrounding The Armed’s fifth album is the truth. Peeling back the ruthless layers of hardcore distortion, the self-professed World’s Greatest Band are further revealing their subterranean pop core without forfeiting any of their principal frameworks. They’ve deftly evolved into a group that could, with the whipping crack of a lightning strike, take over.

It’s also a chance for them to clear the air. Having been bogged down in a multiverse of madness of their own making, this time around the Detroit collective are looking to keep things transparent. They are, by design a collaborative art project. But, with an already exhaustive list of members and contributors over the years, this time they’re presenting a steady core of the group – a six-piece of some of Michigan's best and brightest all rotating duties, with Wolski joined by Cara Drolshagen, Patrick Shiroishi, Kenny Szymanski, Randall Lee, and Urian Hackney. The Armed are now a coherent spectacle, resolutely signalling their fiercely unstoppable force remains in place.

Theirs has always been a precise delivery. Since the days of their punishing hardcore (2015’s Untitled, 2009’s raw-and-ready These Are Lights) they’ve carved the hulking chunk of brutalist concrete into an exquisite form. Beefing up and out, the melodies began to shine on 2018’s Only Love, which 2021’s ULTRAPOP expanded upon ten-fold. Perfect Saviors is the culmination of this evolutionary arc – the artist stepping away from the sculpture and realising this is it.

The collective's return gleams with ambition. Packing the same ferocity and awe of a firework display with ebullient lighter moments shaded with synth flourishes, and rapturously prototypical loud darker ones which apprehend and shake you to the core – opener “Sport of Measure” twinkles its way to thundering life, while “FKA World” darts before unleashing its decadent folly.

Where The Armed flourish here is being able to deploy the same energy and passion while exploring the outer realms of their sound – all without sacrificing the madness. They react and refract to everything from their sounds to the world at large – while seemingly the most alive they've ever felt. The new and the old marry perfectly. “Clone” still delivers pummelling rhythms while the rest of the band collapse in and around them. “Patient Mind” pulses like a nefarious darkened club, until the floor gives way to an anthemic chorus.

Moreover, this is an album to dance to. From “Liar 2”’s insatiable bass line twinned with flashing sax, to “Modern Vanity”’s grooving, hip-thrusting allegiance to howling at the moon, it’s part of a process that urges you to react. “Everything’s Glitter” could feasibly be a Strokes cut if you dialled down The Armed of it All. It's here Wolski laments “There’s drama on my tortured brow / Am I caricature?” as a satirical sniper aimed at society's melodramatic main character syndrome-driven demise.

Collaborations are key to this mass fusion. The jazz influence of newcomer multi-instrumentalist and composer Shiroishi becomes apparent with interspersed sax flourishes, along with the more tender, contemplative moments (“In Heaven” – acoustic The Armed!). While the closing minutes do relinquish all volume in favour of a more focused mission, it all culminates in “Public Grieving”’s soaring, collapsing euphoria.

They may be trying to alleviate the mystery and the confusion around the band – but now the sonics are the real air of mystique. The Armed are undefinable. It’s what makes them such a mouth-wateringly addictive concept. They trade one facet for another with purity. Synths easily clash with rollicking drums and fearsomely wild-eyed guitars, with little to no definable loss. Perfect Saviors is a group finally realising their concept – truly being the World’s Greatest Band.

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