Joseph Arthur

The Graduation Ceremony (Lonely Astronaut)

ACL Music Fest Sunday Reviews

Joseph Arthur

The Graduation Ceremony (Lonely Astronaut)

Conjuring sound songcraft through technological hoops for more than 15 years, Joseph Arthur's eighth studio album negotiates a weird tension between seasoned polish and rank greenness. The standouts – including dreamy, plaintive opener "Out on a Limb," which paints a melancholy watercolor of longing and loss, and "Watch Our Shadows Run" – showcase Arthur's signature layer-cake ethos, the latter melody evoking Dylan's "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" accented by an insistent sonar ping. Moving stuff. Then there's the material belonging to a coffee shop open mic night, such as the forced vocalizations of "This Is Still My World" and the lyrics of "Call" ("Last time we spoke/It was all good/But with the passing of time/Things get misunderstood" – oof). The Graduation Ceremony therefore walks a painfully lovely example of an extremely talented and creative artist who hasn't quite matured. (5pm, Austin Ventures stage)

**.5

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