Album Review: Aura Blaze – Winners of NewMusicFriday Ep 40

Aura Blaze create a unique indie rock vibe. You probably have never heard anything like them, so it’s really hard to find a “for fans of” comparison. Maybe, at least in spirit, the best comp for them might be Pink Floyd. That said, let’s dig into this album a bit.

The title of the first track is really long and a bit confusing, so let’s just say that it starts with some distorted recording that leads into a contemplative keys part. The whole thing works together for this really intriguing atmospheric feeling. You get the sense that these guys are really great musicians just kind of fooling with us. They could do conventional music, but they like this avant garde style because it’s what they want to do. And frankly, I’m not even mad. These cats can play.

“Life is a Lucid Dream” sounds like a late Beatles song. There’s plenty of existential dilemmas presented. The vocal harmonies are really outstanding, crafting a wonderful psych rock style that feels like it could have been recorded in the 60s. The following “It’s a Ride” has some really cool elements to it, which is how the band won their way to this review. My favorite part of the track is the glowing guitar that leads to the killer vocal harmonies. It sounds like another time, but also feels really fresh and new.

“Resonance” is an atmospheric transitional track that cleanses your audio palate for the next song. “Gold Sparkle Sun Design,” which is cinematic and a bit confusing. There’s more going on than the ear can follow. After the break, though, the song feels like old school pop. It’s a strange piece, but oddly enjoyable.

“A Glass of Tears Half Empty” is a dynamic psych rock track. It’s one of the tracks that most reflect that Pink Floyd style I mentioned earlier. The song rises and swells with pure rock energy. Then the following “The Velveteen Valleys” takes off in another cinematic direction, conjuring images of bucolic places. The style must be terribly difficult to compose and create, but it makes for a playground for the ears.

“Sub-Earthen Patchwork Torus” is another avant garde piece, sounding like something more scientific than purely musical. It’s definitely inspired by a psychadelic style that will be more appealing to some than others. Just purely out of speculation here, but this might be a track designed to be enjoyed in conjunction with mind-altering substances. That said, it can still be enjoyable for the uninhibited listener as well.

The final track leaves the listener with a sense of meditation and even enlightenment. Not knowing much about the intellectual history of the band, I would venture to guess that eastern cultural and religious influences are prominent in their approach. If you are open to experimental sounds and styles, this is a must hear album. If you’re looking for a conventional rock album, you probably won’t be an Aura Blaze fan.

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