Able Archer provide an interesting yet deeply flawed E.P. with their latest record The Trouble With Strangers.
Starting with a self-assured confidence, ‘Ghostmaker’ opens The Trouble With Strangers at a pulsating pace. With its hook based alternative-rock sound, the song works as a strong beginning to a record that will ultimately fail to reach the same dynamic heights again.
With ‘The Warden’ Able Archer showcase a more laid-back and textural aspect to their music. With its shimmering harmonic backdrop, the track is one of the E.P’s stand-out moments and highlight’s the band at their most interesting sonically.
Where The Trouble With Strangers falters is in its lack of conviction. The E.P. often finds itself struggling to convey the weight or dynamism behind Able Archer’s music, making the record feel lackluster and often confused in places, especially during the ill-advised closing ballad ‘The Descent’.
However, while this repressive flaw does at times overpower The Trouble With Strangers, it must be noted that Able Archer are in the early stages of their career and such problems can be attributed to the band simply defining and experimenting with their sound.
For the most part The Trouble With Strangers works as a collage of ideas that contains flourishes of promise. Able Archer are clearly an ambitious group, and do try to realise this ambition throughout the E.P.
Indeed, there in lies the hope and promise of Able Archer in a larger context. This commitment and decision to take risks is what leads to many of the record’s flaws, but also defines them as a band willing to try something new. A brave characteristic that is often overlooked and does result in several stand-out moments.
The Trouble With Strangers by Able Archer is out now.