CD REVIEW: Arienette - Arienette
By Cyrus Rhodes - 11/03/2010 - 11:22 PM EDT
Label: Stone Vista Media
Genre: Acoustic Rock, Singer Songwriter and Sadcore
Sounds Like: Sened O' Conner, Jewel
Technical Grade: 6/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 6/10
Commercial Value: 6/10
Overall Talent Level: 6/10
Songwriting Skills: 7/10
Performance Skill: 7/10
Best Songs: Higher, Rainy Season, Catching On
Weakness: Weakness: Dry production, lacks musical depth & dynamic, repetitive catalogue
Acoustic singer/Songwriter Arienette releases her debt self titled CD in 2009. Influences include Owen, Bright Eyes, Ace Enders, Sarah Bareilles, Regina Spektor, & Sufjan Stephens just to name a few. She hails fro Utah.
The CD gently takes flight with “Higher” a melancholy acoustic intro piece that serves up solitary vocal delivery from Arienette that is passionate, & up front & very personal. Track 2 “Friendly Fire” keeps things moving along the intimate path with solitary acoustic guitar ambience & Arienette’s passionate voice front & center. This track along with Track 3 “Giving Me Hell” are both striking pieces that flow & ebb their way through emotional fruition. Track 3 is quite dynamic in the sense that there are several subtle time changes throughout the piece. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of classic Jewel, Suzanne Vega & & perhaps a splash of Sinead O Conner. The actual musical format is very intimate, & is an up close & personal snapshot of the artist. The songs themselves are very naked & personal with messages revealing the highs & lows of life, love, passion, & naked vulnerabity. Overall the catalogue is extremely melancholy. Besides the voice & the acoustic guitar you will also notice brief splashes of well placed solo guitar, piano & keyboard accents along the way. The acoustic guitar playing abilities from Arienette are conservative & in the pocket, with honey coated vocal timber that remonds me alot of Jewel. I might add Arienette’s displays an impressive falsetto every no & then. Lyrical content is extremely revealing as all songs cut deep to the core. From passionate “For James And Codeine” & “The Call” to striking “Light Out” & “Catching On”. to heartfelt “Your Name” & “Lullaby” to dynamic “Rainy Season” this CD has something for just about everyone. Arienette will work best on days you want a delicate acoustic sound to fill your atmosphere.
Though Arienette’s voice is full of sex appel & passion - it’s nothing legendary. Throughout most of the CD she plays it safe, and avoids taking risks that would showcase a strong, confident vocal ability. Earthy type productions such as this create ample opportunities for these kinds of "pin drop" moments for both musicians & singers out there to show what they are capable of. When done right - will blow you right out of your chair, or take your breath away. When not done right - will sound empty & somewhat repetitive. No doubt more work is required from to fill this sonic space effectively, thus keeping the attention span of the listener during those critical moments. Arienette is on the right track with these songs as theya re striking, but there are risks you take when delivering a bare bones musical performance such as this. You better hold your own well while the musical spotlight is yours. It’s fair to say more musical depth is often needed to compensate. Again I can’t help but wonder what some of these songs would sound like with other musical elements behind them. Instruments such as a pedal steel, mandolin, fiddles, viola, stand up bass, cello, piano, banjo, percussion, whirly bells, celeste and even a saw would add a much needed musical dimension. Due to lack of musical depth the production goes down extremely dry. Some of the songs are a bit winded & repetitive. All pieces over 4 minutes in length will drag you to the finish line, even at a coffee house. Again it takes an amazing amount of talent and skill to deliver a bare bones musical production effectively. Hats off to Arienette for taking all this on, but in the end of the day, this CD just sounds like it's missing something.
Overall Arienette is a striking & compelling musical production. Its strong suit is it’s overall consistecy, lyrical wisdom, & bold straightforwardness. Make no bones about it folks; It took raw honesty to write & perform some of these songs. What I like most about Arienette is there is no attempt to hide how she feels, or sugar coat the truth. I really admire artists out there who are themselves and just let the chips fall where they may. Praise goes out to the artist that has the courage to show us something real and genuine beneath their veil of vanity. Arienette is one of those artists. Be advised you may not want to listen to this CD on the day you get fired, but if you like melancholy music that provides a very real assessment of the human condition then you should jump into the CD head first. If I could say anything to Arienette right now it would be - add a bit more musical flavor to your next production. This can be done without losing the solitary musical foundation. You've also proven how effective you are at staying in the pocket during slow parts, but don't be afraid to exit that comfort zone, and really push that emotional envelope to the hilt during some of your other parts. The real selling point for any song is the (singer to listener) emotional connection. Here experienced artists will execute and make this connection every time. It cannot be faked and has to be totally genuine. At the end of the day people don't buy plastic and paper, they buy emotions. Trim up some of your songs a bit, but whatever you do, don’t stop telling us what the truth Is……….because that's what you do the best.
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