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Album Review : Arielle: ‘73

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Review by Pete Finn for MPM

Born in New Jersey, singer/songwriter/musician Arielle’s musical journey began when she joined the Peninsula Girls Chorus of California at five years old.

It was a special moment, only equalled when she got her first guitar at the age of ten. It was as if she had found her soul mate.

Her first break came when she was ‘Discovered’ in 2010 by Extreme guitarist Nuno Bettencourt. In the years that followed, she made a name for herself touring throughout North America and the UK, opening, and playing with amongst others Joe Bonamassa, Guns ‘N’ Roses, and members of Deep Purple. Good fortune ensued when Arielle was handpicked by guitarist Brian May for a key role in the London-based musical, “We Will Rock You.” The Brian May link continues with her own BMG signature guitar, a copy of her favourite, affectionately known as ‘Two Tone’.

This new album will be Arielle’s fourth, with her debut being released in 2015. There are twelve tracks in total, and a running time of 44-minutes. I was fortunate enough to see Arielle play live last year when she toured with Dan Patlansky, and if my memory is correct, the album title ‘73’ is named after the year of her beloved VW Camper.

The album starts with the instrumental ‘The Dulcet’, a short piece that made me immediately think of the Brian May connection, as it could have been used in the 1980 movie ‘Flash Gordon’. A full heavy guitar riff with a symphonic electro-keyboard reverberation sound and solid drum-beat. We move straight into the next track, ‘Somewhere Slow’. The tempo is quick and punchy, Arielle’s vocal is crystal clear as it shines through some clever guitar sounds. These different riffs and breaks will make for fabulous live track. It’s a great start.

It’s time for the title track ‘73’. The pace continues with this speedster, the slide guitar creates the image of the Camper whizzing around the roads. The lyrics refer to the VW as a time machine to take you back to the magical year of 1973. Driving bass beats are the engine that keeps the track racing forwards. Great fun with genuine feeling.

Next, we have ‘Goes Without Saying’. The steady drums carry Arielle’s soothing vocal as she sings about the emotion of a relationship break-up. The jangly guitar, sounds like it’s weeping in places, bringing feeling to the song. The bluesy ‘The Way You Look At Me’, is a song about the person you’re in a relationship with, who when they look at you, you know they don’t love you anymore. The vocal is carefully sung, Arielle shows the great range in both her voice and guitar skills, the passion and emotion evident in each word and note.

Gentle strumming introduces ‘Weakness For You’, a country sound with bright lyrics, and warm guitar tones. The funk groove starts ‘Kalypso’, Arielle soon has her guitar purring, before unleashing some big heavy riffs with distortion. This instrumental is hypnotic and atmospheric, the variety of guitar sounds is incredible. This is a must for a live show, the place will be bouncing. Once it’s finished, I immediately hit the play button again.

By contrast ‘I Need An Angel’, is a delicate piece with a pure vocal. A cry for help during a feeling of solitude. Arielle’s vocal is full of emotion, your ears eager for the next line. Big beats and a The Who-esque riff grabs the attention straight away for ‘That’s Just Lonely’. It has a bit of a fun summer sound. The track has bounce, Arielle demonstrates her flexibility in style of vocals, the mid-track guitar and drum duel adds bite. This is a real toe-tapper.

‘The Other Side (Let The Sun Set Down)’ starts with quick drums, Arielle part narrates the lyrics. The upbeat tempo whisks the listener along. This is a cruising, enjoying the moment song. Next, is a cover of a track released by David Gates from Bread in 1971, and one of Arielle’s favourites. ‘If’ is the penultimate track, strumming guitar and considerate vocal has you pausing and listening to the words. This is performed with total respect to the original, with Arielle’s love for the song obvious. The album concludes with ‘Wherever We Go From Here’, a song with a big stage production sound. This is all about Arielle’s powerful vocal.

Arielle’s ‘73’ is a cleverly constructed album, incorporating many different styles and her talent is unquestionable. It’s written and created by the head and hands; it’s performed with the heart. Go and enjoy it.

Arielle is about to go out on tour in the UK, starting on 28th of April in Colchester, and finishing on 27th of May in Manchester.

Arielle tours the UK with When Rivers Meet from April 28th until May 27th.  Tickets are available from –  https://whenriversmeet.co.uk/tour 

The new album is available to order worldwide from this link on Arielle’s official store – https://arielle.store/collections/73-pre-order

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