July 8, 2009

Aurora Ahora

Los Angeles, CA
Recorded by Scott Flammer at the RecRoom in Anaheim, CA | Mastered by Mark Chalecki | Produced by Scott Flammer

Survival in Los Angeles is predicated on harnessing relationships. The City precipitates artist communities like rain-forming puddles. Downtown/Union began as a bluesy duo project of drummer Jeff Hartline and singer/guitarist Bo Bory. Over some years the band evolved into an artful four-piece with help from L.A.’s best indie rock purists, the Henry Clay People (Andy and Joey Siara).

Their debut is rooted in the 1990s, circa hair-in-the-eyes college rock (Pavement and Guided By Voices) where bass/drums/guitar were source to limitless inspiration. Here, blistering fingers and rattling vocals mingle with driving guitars and Hartline’s splashy rhythm.

Aurora Ahora is a yearning, traditional indie rock record injected with soulful simplicity. It’s tactfully paced like a 1950s album, interlacing patient balladry with fundamental (verse/chorus) rock. Soaring melody and sturdy rhythm are the foundation, while singer Bo Bory’s naked and sloppy tone delivers like an easy verse. Bory’s literate lyrics are faintly veiled by the tangled instrumentation, which generates album depth (and overcomes occasional musical shortcomings). His lyrical style nods to a Replacements-era Paul Westerberg, particularly on anthemic highlights “Gypsy Carousel” and “Pretty Baby Aquanet,” where the hollering cadence arrives matter-of-factly without sounding punk-watered down.

“Bright Idea” and “Hearts Fall from Aeroplanes” show the most potential, featuring ebbing guitar melody in the vein of Power, Corruption and Lies-era New Order. These tracks also feature less vocal assertion, which gives the instrumentation a tight-knit, seemingly organic feel. The verse/ chorus framework offers traditional simplicity and is where the band hits its stride.

Aurora Ahora is a sparkling and sunny California debut with lots of ideas, signaling a promising up-and-comer moving into further inspired and ambitious territory. (self-released)
-Christopher Petro

No comments:

Post a Comment