Review: Arma del Amor, ‘Light You Up’ EP

ARMA-DEL-AMOR-for-onmag copy

Duo du jour? Arma del Amor. PHOTO: PIERS FAIRCLOTH-HARDING

My Spanish is crap, but I believe Arma del Amor translates to “love gun”. Not to be confused with the KISS song (awesome as it is), Arma del Amor is a colab between vocalist Martine Harding, who grew up in Wanaka and is now based in Wellington, and local multi-instrumentalist Danny Fairley, aka Civillian Sol. They released Light You Up, their two-track EP, in September, and if symbiosis were recordable, it might sound like this.

Light You Up’ opens gently, spare piano chords with a thrum of Motown percussion behind it. You half think you can hear Marvin Gaye in the mix (get up, get up, get up), but it’s Martine who starts the next phrase: “Wake up,” she sings, and right away you know it’s going to be soulful, and you know it’s going to be good. Just when you’ve settled in for a smooth ride, though, the whole thing erupts in surge of electro-rapture that brings to mind MS MR’s ‘Hurricane’, except Martine’s voice holds stronger than Lizzy Plapinger’s, more concrete. Yeah!

As for ‘Capture My Mind’, I know this track is going to top my summer soundtrack mix; it’s a song made for hot tarmac and evenings so long you can live a lifetime in one. Harding’s sing-song rap (got my own clique / now yours ain’t working / take the power back / now I’m really worth it) pushes against the scrubby dub step beneath it, and then gives in, encircled by a soaring refrain that somehow conveys confusion and certainty all at once. The track lands softly with a mingling of Danny and Martine’s voices–it’s a song that takes you a lot of places in three minutes, which, really, is what music should do, don’t you think?

We were lucky to have these two at our summer launch party recently, Martine performing as a solo artist and Danny as one half of the Dr Dee and the Vellum Banditos, and I can’t wait to see Arma del Amor as a live act. New music and upcoming gigs promised on their Facebook page. Bring it ON.




Arma del Amor EP cover


You can download Arma del Amor’s Light You Up

from Bandcamp at on a ‘pay what you like’ basis.

Be generous people!

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