Music Review - Outsiders by Au/Ra
Yet another young female electronic music artist who is making the YouTube rounds, but is woefully underrepresented on Amazon and other music services. And given some of her lyrics, she may have mixed feelings about the review I posted on Amazon, but I think she wouldn't mind being featured on a horror-themed website…but even if she does, them’s the breaks, as reviews are how I get MY kicks.
While she may have more recognition from her more recently released single Panic Room, which is accompanied by a wonderfully twisted official video, her debut EP is just as solid a release. And though they are not as moody and twisted as Panic Room, the three songs here are still great downtempo electronic tracks worthy of repeat listening. If I had to make a comparison for Au/Ra, I would say she’s somewhat similar to Svrcina, albeit with more of a focus on societal commentary than on relationships. The music is also darker, with more of a stormy edge to it. This is night-owl music, perfect for midnight road trips or when it’s raining outside and you just can’t sleep. Or maybe for when you're being a creep stalking your ex. At night. In the rain...
Outsiders is a great choice for the name of the EP, as it’s definitely the standout track, and is a very good preview of the direction her music is taking. While not necessarily a bombastic anthem with “geared for radio” hooks, this is still an earworm with great production values, and a solid representation of the mindset of this talented young lady. She even manages to borrow, in a not quite-subtle way, some Pink Floyd lyrics and flows. And while I generally consider PF material sacrosanct, Au/Ra accomplishes it in a way that totally works, so she gets a pass.
We might be the outsiders, but the in-crowd is so out right now.
A little more upbeat & uptempo, Concrete Jungle has a decidedly Lorde feel, and is the shortest of the three tracks. It also features the most on-point of her lyrics, with a rather amusing dig at Amazon Prime. It’s quick, it’s catchy, and really kicks on a great stereo system. Though it’s so short that it can’t possibly overstay its welcome, it's gone a little too quickly. I really wanted this song to be longer, as I’m sure she has more to say...and I’m willing to listen.
Everything you want in 24 hours…but nothing you need.
While the first two tracks are more low-key in nature, Kicks is definitely the “radio friendly” offering from the EP, veering slightly from the established downtempo vibe and offering up a more pop oriented song. The chorus is pretty infectious, the production is tight, and I could easily see this one getting radio play. And while it’s my least favorite on the EP (I really do enjoy her darker stuff more), it’s still a worthy track, especially for a brand new artist.
Yeah, your mainstream runs against mine, but we still nod heads at the same time.
And while it’s not included on this EP, I’ll still include a review of Panic Room, because it’s more than worthy of some praise (beyond YouTube). If this is truly the direction of her future material, then I am 100% on board. Dark, twisted, and creepy as hell, Panic Room is modern dark electronic music perfected. The echoes, the treatments on her vocals, the plodding bassline…everything about this track just works. And much like Concrete Jungle, this one is a beast on a killer stereo system.
My phone has no signal, it’s making my skin crawl, the silence is so loud…
So, if you are a fan of dark electronic music, do yourself a favor and pick this up. While YouTube views and comments are good, the only thing that will keep young artists like this making music is the financial support from fans.
5 out of 5 anti-establishment stars!