It seems like Friday night is yet another one of those nights in Austin with tons of live music options to fit just about anyone’s musical tastes. Lankford and I may be checking out Hamilton down at the Parish or hopping over to see Sungod at Red 7. For those looking to see a promising out of town act on the cheap, head over to Empire for a show by DC based Pree. You should definitely check out my SXSW interview with the band while you’re at it. Locals fill out the lineup with Silver Ships kicking things off and Auroravore playing right before the headliners.
Ever find yourself getting lost in a song, only to snap back and realize you’ve been somewhere else entirely for the past few minutes? Maybe you were walking down the street with your headphones in and looked up just in time to avoid walking into that phone pole. Or maybe you were studying in the library and looked up to see everyone was staring while you were sub consciously fist pumping the air like some Jersey Shore idiot. Admit it, if you’re reading this you are enough of a music lover to have been there, probably more than once. Auroravore is one of those bands that will take you to that place.
While the band has been a mainstay on the Austin music scene for long enough to be called veterans, they had a quiet year until the end of 2013 when they released their eponymous debut album in December. The album is a cohesive 9 song piece of work. On first impression it immediately evokes Of Montreal’s groovy psych pop and the pastoral layers and playful instrumental melodies of Air. The heart of this band is in the interplay between the keyboard and guitar, and anyone who has had the pleasure of seeing this band live can attest to the fact that they bring a Fender Rhodes and Moog Voyager to every show. In this day and age of cheap, light, and versatile digital synths and keyboard, lugging vintage gear around to shows is a tonal testament to dedication.
Auroravore is successful in creating a unified aural feel to the album. They never lose their groove or fall out of the pocket. Song after song the Keyboard and guitars make parallel runs evoking electronic droplets of notes. The tone of the music is a cascading groove of layers. At times, this is a double edged sword. After multiple listens, I found my attention beginning to drift. My “in the zone” would occasionally turn into a “zoned out”. While tonal cohesion can be a strong point, looking forward this band will need to grow out of the eighth note pentatonic melody lines if they want to maintain the audience that this album could attract.
The key track for me in this album is “Who Goes Home”. While there are certainly more danceable songs (Falls Down or Comfortable), this track is a perfect slow burner, mirroring the lyrical subject with the musical arrangement. The lead vocals play a call and response with the keyboard and guitar, alternating a lilting falsetto narrative verse with a percussive quarter beat guitar hit. All of this energy and emotion is wonderfully curated by the drummer’s groove. The song culminates with repetive phrasing of the track title, and cadences with a final instrumental ascending melody, leaving us wondering who went home.