Arms and Sleepers’ early records were abundant in personality, despite not pushing many boundaries. The music moved with unpredictable and astral rhythms, out of which industrial sounds shot up sprightly. But that engaging quality has generally eroded and ‘former kingdoms’ marks a sharp decline. It is an album of inevitabilities: never less than tolerable, never more than background music. The samples in particular are obvious and idle, despite holding a deeper meaning to the artist. There’s a drowsiness coating the record that confines it to either revision music or something from a Grammarly advert—‘Casa De Caro’ is the sleepiest electronic cut I’ve heard in years.
A favourite: ‘thru & true’
‘former kingdoms’ is out now via DXFXWXU Collective.