Thursday, March 27, 2008

Reviews:: Aaron Booth Back Stories

There is a terrific trend surfacing in the Canadian scene that sees musicians getting together to help another artist finish their vision. Most times it involves session musicians (like the drummers that helped Cuff the Duke finish their latest record) or it can be unexpected collaborations (The Whitsundays and Nik 7 for example). But sometimes, the union is so perfect you wonder why it never happened before. For Canadian song writer Aaron Booth, linking up with Stampede soul mates Woodpigeon and Jane Vain (along with other notables) really pushed his latest release - Back Stories - to astonishingly high levels.

Now, I don't think this record is as good as some other people, but undoubtedly, it's a collection of songs that is incredibly engaging and ear pleasing; an album without a single rocky step. Booth is a seasoned song writer and the tones he paints on Back Stories are rich in sepia, despite the fact his words are usually dark grey. The stories push into your memories, and you start feeling his emotions mix with your own. The gentle acoustic with the occasional strings or piano really give the freedom to let your memories take over the experience. When he talks about old friends and past girlfriends on Ghosts, it's hard not to start thinking about it yourself.

On the surface, the tracks on Back Stories shouldn't be as infectious as they are. It's not like Booth is using sounds or textures we've never heard, it's more the way he combines them and the subtleties he adds at just the right time. Same Thing After All starts as a song pointing out the contrasts between two people; a theme we can all relate to and to be fair, has been used before. But when the female vocals kick in Booth voice meshes seamlessly with the instrumentation and the sound is unique and fresh.

Booth constantly makes a connection with the listener, inviting you into intimate situations, but always seems to find the nuance needed to change the mood and stop the songs from blending. We Don't Pretend starts as an echo filled, spare track but Booth adds a choral swell of female backing vocals and piano for the last minute, making it impossible to ignore. The album closer (The Many Lead The One) follows the same recipe, making use of some great folky vocals to finish off the song, and a supremely enjoyable record.

[MP3]:: Ghost

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Posted at 3:24 PM by ack :: 1 comments

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At 9:12 AM, Blogger Jill and Mal did sayeth:

Ok .. do you remember Aaron Booth that worked at LAK when we were there ? This all freaked me out a little ... while obviously not the same guy it brought back memories reading his name in bold throughout your article! LOL!


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