Audra: Going to the Theatre
Audra - Going to the Theatre - [Projekt Records]


There's always that exhilaration you feel, hearing something new by a band
you admire, an exhilaration laced vaguely with dread. How dare they
change, the inner chant goes, even while it insists, How dare they not?
Audra's second album, Going to the Theatre, constitutes serious change for
this Arizona-based duo, change in that sure-footed,
momentarily-unsettling-but-best-possible sense. The music now seems even
more true to itself, more true somehow to its original impulse. A number
of the new songs are harder, busy with distorted guitar, beefed up with
bass and with gripping (almost to the point of not seeming programmed)
drums and percussion. But even the hardest and most orchestral songs
render restive, guardedly passionate melodies, the choruses each and all
simultaneously surprising and inevitable. "All Ghosts Spend Their Time
Alone" captivates utterly, with its tinkling synth-harpsichord and
electro-tambourine, the human voice presiding (as always in Audra) with a
kind of brooding lucidity. The Cranes and The Soil Bleeds Black have made
much hay where the sun doesn't shine in terms of sibling dynamics; Bret and
Bart Helm of Audra capitalize likewise on blood-proximity, on that knowing
residing at the level of cells. The result, measure by measure, song after
song, is uncanny, luminous, exquisite, bitter sweetly intense. There's much
here to love and replay, more even than in the landmark debut release.

Kirk Nesset

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