(2000) We Are The Ark

The Ark

... read moreThe Ark broke through to Swedish audiences in a major way in 2000, scoring an instant number one with their first album after nearly a decade as a band, a striking debut that introduced their decidedly flamboyant brand of energetic, pop-heavy rock & roll. Like Scissor Sisters and the Darkness (both...

47′:27″ 12 Songs

1
Hey Modern Days
The Ark
3:50
2
Echo Chamber
The Ark
3:40
3
Joy Surrender
The Ark
3:58
4
It Takes A Fool To Remain Sane
The Ark
4:10
5
Ain't Too Proud To Bow
The Ark
3:35
6
Bottleneck Barbiturate
The Ark
4:59
7
Let Your Body Decide
The Ark
3:16
8
Patchouli
The Ark
2:38
9
This Sad Bouquet
The Ark
5:07
10
Angelheads
The Ark
3:24
11
Laurel Wreath
The Ark
3:46
12
You, Who Stole My Solitude
The Ark
5:04
Released 25 September 2000, 2000 Woah Dad/Telegram Music distributed by Warner Music Sweden AB

Review

The Ark broke through to Swedish audiences in a major way in 2000, scoring an instant number one with their first album after nearly a decade as a band, a striking debut that introduced their decidedly flamboyant brand of energetic, pop-heavy rock & roll. Like Scissor Sisters and the Darkness (both of whom the Ark predated by several years), they took considerable inspiration from the theatricality of '70s glam rock, especially in terms of visual styling, but musically too, with their gleaming guitar leads, frequent falsetto vocals, and liberal use of choral and orchestral accompaniment. (Check out the swaggering T. Rex groove and hysterical, Queen-like chorus of "Ain't Too Proud to Bow.") It's far more than mere campy revivalist shtick, though; as much as We Are the Ark may have its tongue in its cheek, its heart is planted even more firmly on its sleeve. Or more precisely, on that of singer/ringleader Ola Salo, whose emotionally earnest songwriting is at once introspective and stirringly motivational, and always lavishly melodic. "It Takes a Fool to Remain Sane" -- which spent four months in the Swedish Top Ten -- is the album's obvious highlight and most starkly affecting moment; it's a lush, string-laden mini-epic and a potent cri de coeur for self-determination and bravery in the face of a world "all covered up in shame." But there's plenty of pop and pathos to enjoy elsewhere, too, in ritzy rockers like "Echo Chamber" and "Let Your Body Decide," and stagy slow-burners like "Joy Surrender" and "Bottleneck Barbiturates." As the album progresses its extremes grow even more pronounced: "This Sad Bouquet" is a spare and poignant ballad -- just guitar and voice -- while the funky "Laurel Wreath" rocks harder and leaner than anything else on here. Then there's the operatically over-the-top "You, Who Stole My Solitude," which closes the album in a frenzy of arpeggiated synthesizers and choral chanting. Sure, it all smacks of the ridiculous, and usually more than faintly. Salo acknowledges as much in "It Takes a Fool": "If you think I'm corny then it will not make me sorry; it's your right to laugh at me." In a sense, the Ark's willingness (and ability) to embrace that silliness, without sacrificing either their consummate musical artistry or their profoundly personal content -- their insistence on having it both ways -- is what makes their work so daring and so effective. ~ K. Ross Hoffman