Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Aurical - Something To Say


Aurical - Something To Say
2011, Gallant Music

Aurical is a folk/pop duo born of two coasts.  Singer/songwriter/producer Rachel Rossos has spent time in both New York City and San Francisco, working with musicians such as Edgar Meyer, William Bolcolm and Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg.  Michael Gallant is the senior editor of Keyboard Magazine, and serves as singer/songwriter/pianist and co-vocalist for Aurical.  Together, the two have crafted a vibrant and original sound, on full display on Aurical’s debut album, Something To Say.

Something To Say opens with the title track, an edgy, piano-driven rocker.  Vocalist Michael Gallant sounds a bit like James Young of Styx, delivering a high-octane performance that's a smash as an opener.  "Brahms Of Philosophy" has a bit of a Ben Folds feel, and Rachel Rosses does a nice job with the vocal line.  The song is catchy although perhaps a bit rushed at times; ultimately very entertaining.  "Mom's Favorite" is a bit reserved and straightforward in style.  "Julianna" is wonderfully dark, with distinctive harmonies that grab you.  It's a solid piece of songwriting that's worth revisiting. 

"Leave It All behind" is lyrically awkward at times, but impresses on the musical side.  Jethro Tull, Genesis and Supertramp stirred up in a room together might have created something that sounded like this.  The bass steals the show with a funk-driven style of play that enlivens the song with an ambitious progressive rock sensibility.  "Work Song" is a slow and meandering number that works on the music side but again shows a lyrical clumsiness that stands out.  Things get really interesting on "Redhead Girl", with a piano style that sounds like a cross between Ben Folds and Tori Amos.  The most original and intriguing work on the album, "Redhead Girl" shows Aurical's ability to push the envelope and do it well.  "I've Never Known" is the best overall contribution on the album.  Rachel Rossos is fantastic here, crafting an early female-vocal group sound.  Things get a bit more mundane as Something To Say rumbles to a close with three solid if unremarkable tracks.

Aurical dances between magic and the mundane throughout Something To Say, creating moments that build anticipation in the listener, but often falling back before finding that perfect musical strike.  There's some very good stylistic songwriting on the album, but the lyrical composition of the album has its awkward moments.  Something To Say has enough to offer to make it worth spending some time with, but there are some definite kinks and wrinkles in the band's creative process to be smoothed out next time around.

Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Aurical at www.auricalmusic.com or on FacebookSomething To Say is available from Amazon.com as a CD or Download.  The album is also available via iTunes.