Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Reviews:: Rich Aucoin - Personal Publication

If I were to tell you that Rich Aucoin wrote the music for his debut solo album Personal Publication to match up with the visuals from the animated classic How The Grinch Stole Christmas, would that make you more or less likely to check it out? If the answer is less, then perhaps you might want to check with your physician to ensure your minuscule, Grinch-size heart is functioning ok. Seriously, who doesn't enjoy the Grinch? On an actual serious note, while writing this album to sync up with an animated classic is an ambitious and interesting project, actually listening to the album will reveal it to be a very engaging, and enjoyable piece of music.

Rich's work with folks like The Hylozoists and the fembots certainly must have kept him busy enough, but deciding to go out on his own and make a solo album, and then sync said album up to an iconic 60's Christmas cartoon turned into "an engulfing year of church organs, thermins, vibraphones and grinches". And lest you think I exaggerate the amount of effort required for a 10 song EP, consider that Rich played and recorded some 25 instruments in order to construct this album. Clearly a ton of work. As an aside, I don't mind telling you that before this album I had no idea what a theramin was, and now that I know, my mind is a little blown and my life is a little richer.

It's one thing to play a ton of instruments on your record, it's quite another to meld all those instruments into a record that's an enjoyable listen. Rich has certainly achieved that. At War With The Cynics (An Opening) is a great title for a pop song, and luckily the song itself lives up to it. A kaleidoscope of percussion (is that a cop-out to avoid id-ing which of the 25 instruments are used? You betcha!), augmented by organs and some electronic vocal effects, really give this ode to optimism an upbeat vibe. The electro vocals are used again to solid effect on the danceable The Romanticizing Of Promiscuisness, which also uses some excellent xylophone work (or vibraphone? Help!) to mount a relentlessly catchy counter-offensive against Nelly Furtado and her trampy ilk.

The album dials the tempo (but not the catchiness) down with Behold the Lamb! (Muffled by the Noisy City) (An Offering), which has a sweet 80's feel that I can't quite put my finger on (the xylophone, the strings? not sure). We, The Dishonest, Honestly Swear...(A Deceiving) also starts out slow, with piano and drums building gradually until the drums kick into an uptempo, almost breakbeat-ish sound at about the minute mark and lead into an extended instrumental break in the middle of the song. I'm pretty sure I can hear the theramin being used on this track. I actually have no idea if it's used on this song, I just wanted to work the theramin into this review again. The uptempo 10,342 Cuts For the Us (An Exploding) is a counter-point to the idol worshipping of Behold The Lamb, and also acts as the last proper song on the album. It's a lovely finale, I enjoy the strings on it a great deal.

If you were wondering, Rich himself seems to have a rather large heart, as this past summer he biked across the country to tour and raise money for cancer. Plus, in our dealings with him thus far, he's come across as a super nice dude. Not that any of that should influence you to buy this album, as it's certainly strong enough to stand on it's own, but I thought it was worth mentioning. My only real issue with the album is that I didn't get around to reviewing it sooner.

In the end though it's worked out well, as the Grinch tie-in makes this a perfect time of year to discover this album. So this Christmas, watch the Grinch, and then watch Rich's synced version. Or watch Rich's version and then watch the original. Like Dres used to say it, the choice is yours. The world is your electro-pop/animated Christmas classic oyster.

Better still, if you'll be in Halifax this Thursday, November 22nd, Rich will be playing at the Marquee.

MP3:: Rich Aucoin - Behold the Lamb! (Muffled by the Noisy City) (An Offering)

Video:: How The Grinch Stole Christmas SYNCED by Rich Aucoin

Posted at 9:12 AM by naedoo :: 0 comments

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