En El Patio Interior
The first and last time the Barcelona-based Aroah passed through my stereo was on 2004’s The Last Laugh, a pretty but somewhat forgettable disc of sadcore musings. It comes as a shock that Irene Tremblay and her supporting musicians would resurface two years later with a six-song EP as strong as anything else I’ve heard this season.
Beginning with a pristine and heartbreaking renditon of Lou Reed’s “Caroline Says II” that climbs slowly up from a skeletal arrangement to an ornate expanse. This resolute though delicate sound typifies Tremblay and co-writer Raul Fernandez’s sonic palatte this time around. The piercing organ clomp of “Blue Room,” the slide guitar swoon and mariachi rhythmic strum on “Keys” and the foggy, effects-laden guitar unfurling throughout the exquisite “Good Intentions” all make for a depth in songwriting unreached on the group’s previous 14-track LP. Creating such a rich sound with such minimal instrumentation works in the group’s favor. There’s nothing in the mix to overshadow Tremblay’s whispered, picturesque lyrics. It’s doubtful En El Patio Interior will see a true domestic release, but Acuarela albums are fairly easy to track down on this side of the Atlantic. Find it, it’s worth the effort.