Little Arrow - Poetically Diseased
It's been 10 years since Little Arrow released their debut album Music, Masks & Poems in 2011, and 3 years since their frontman, William Hughes, was lost to cancer in December 2018. Bubblewrap Collective are commemorating the band and their singer by reissuing the album on heavyweight, marbled blue vinyl on 21/05/21.
It's the kind of release that feels melancholic, because it makes you wish you'd been around to see the band while they were active, but also celebratory; an affirmation of the enduring creativity of the singer and the band. Even though he's gone, his music and words still resonate. Will had a deep, rich baritone voice that sounds a little operatic or perhaps informed by the Welsh choral tradition. His songwriting feels "poetic" without being self-conscious or forced, asking sincere questions and giving sincere answers, in the vein of Bonnie Prince Billy.
The new single, 'Poetically Diseased', recorded live at Four Bars in Cardiff in 2014, is one of several bonus live tracks that will be included with the digital reissue of the album, along with interpretations of the album tracks re-recorded by some of Will's closest friends. It feels vital and alive - a precious moment in time, preserved by a fragile recording.
The arrangement is straightforward and spacious and fits the song perfectly, hitting the sweet spot between polished musicianship and ragged emotion. Little Arrow expertly build tension and surge along to a rousing ending following a sparse, bare intro with Will, singing alone, asking the question 'when will the world eat us up?'
The eventual climax seems to answer that question; 'here it is, embrace your freedom. Defiant and powerful in its fragility, facing the shortcomings of life with a futile but precious cry. The reissue is a meaningful tribute to the words and music of Little Arrow and William Hughes.