The Last Laugh


Ready for Spanish sad-core? Irene Tremblay’s pretty much banking on it with Aroah’s latest release. Pulling from the genre’s better lyricists (Cat Power, Julie Doiron, Low) and cobbling together subtle and sonically deep symphonies, Tremblay outdoes many of her singular peers and hits the fringes of Sufjan Stevens’ expansive folkified countryside. To grasp her songwriting range, check out the crystalline but resolute song structure on “The Lonely Drunk,” complete with triangle punctuations and a wistful flute outro, the Tara Jane O’Neill-esque loose drumfest “Autobiographical Rhyming Song” and the swapping of an inviting super-fuzz guitar intro for flat-lined keyboard notes and hissing electronics on “Vigo.”

It should be evident from the song titles that the Spanish influence is non-existent in the lyrics, but it does surface in the instrumentation. The Spanish guitar and percussive rhythms of “Horoscope” and the swaying, electric closeness of “Sick in the Body, Sick in the Head” add a new sense of warmth to what can sometimes be a rather cold and distant type of music. Not that I’m suggesting sad-core bands in general pick up the pace, or spice up their musicality like Aroah, but it’s nice to have some depressing music that at least feels a little more like summer.


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