I, for one, have been wondering how Artio could follow their last release – the absolutely fantastic ‘Backbone’ EP. And now I know. They follow it with this, ‘All Things End’.
I am not going to beat about the bush here, this is incredible. It’s huge. It does all those Artio things but more so – musically, vocally, lyrically, emotionally.
Artio are not afraid to tackle the bigger issues in their songs – mental health, the environment, the social and political situation – and this is about something that is emotionally difficult. ‘All Things End’ is about the fear of losing someone after they die. it’s about being so in love with someone that you’ll wait for them wherever you go after death, no matter what spiritual plane you end up in.
Something this emotional is going to need something musically that reflects it, and this does. This builds, it builds from gentle keys and guitar and gradually subtle sounds are added, Hol’s voice comes in, and then it happens. The song explodes, it explodes with a vocal that had the hairs on my arms standing up, and a shiver going up my back and into my head. The first time I heard this it stopped me in my tracks, I literally couldn’t move.
And this song falls and builds, and as it does that, emotionally we are taken on a journey. Until, as the song comes to an end, we are returned to that gentle keyboards and guitar, there is some sonic closure.
And yes, this song has those Artio touches sonically, but more so. There is the sound of a ticking clock. A ticking clock that evolves in a skittering rhythm that is disturbing. There are strangely off-kilter synth pads.
And yes, this song rewards repeated listening. With each listen you hear more and more sounds, there is always something new. But it never, and I mean never, loses its impact.
There is a maturity in this song. Musically it feels more complex than their previous releases. Hol’s vocals are frankly amazing. The degree to which the vocals, the music and the words make something that is more, so much more, than the sum of its parts.
When the band posted on their Insta asking how we might feel about new music, I responded ‘Excited beyond words’, and the first time I heard this I was. I was left stunned and reeling. Artio have soared with this release. It is, and I mean this, incredibly beautiful.
To help support the #BlackLivesMatter movement, Artio will be donating 100% of all proceeds made from this single – all streaming revenue, digital sales, and physical sales will be split evenly between the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (America’s top legal firm fighting for racial justice), the National Bail Fund Network (a collection of bail funds including the Minnesota Freedom Fund) and Kimberly Bryant, Founder Black Girls CODE (provider of technology education for African-American girls).