CD REVIEW: Arienette - The Hardest of Fights
By: Cyrus Rhodes
"infectious - powerful - passionate"
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST -
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Alternative Rock, Indie -Folk
Sounds Like: Mazzy Star, Jewel, Cowboy Junkies
Technical Grade: 7/10
Mix, Lackluster Production Quality, Marketability
Acoustic singer/songwriter Arienette releases her second release entitled The Hardest of Fights in 2011. Influences include Owen, Bright Eyes, Ace Enders, Sarah Bareilles, Regina Spektor, & Sufjan Stephens just to name a few. Arienette hails from Utah.
The CD quickly takes to flight with “Something Good” an upbeat intro piece that serves up steady rock rhythm, well placed guitar ambience against hooky vocal melody from Arienette that peaks and valleys its way through to emotional fruition. Track 2 “Bare Feet” shifts gears a bit with solitary musical intro against Americana rhythm guitar and a grand slam chorus. This piece is quite impressive with its demonstrating impressive vocal harmonies and percussive accents. Track 3 shifts gears back down another notch with “These Nights” a melancholy yet folksy groove that delivers earthy rhythm guitar against another heartfelt vocal delivery from Arienette. As this CD slowly unfolds I can hear many different musical influences reminiscent of such classic acts such as Mazzy Star, Jewel, Sinead O Conner and perhaps a splash of and Cowboy Junkies. The music itself is an impressive blend of acoustic rock, with folksy-type elements Despite this the music has an unmistakable alternative indie-rock aftertaste. The musicianship of everyone involved is above the bar. Along the way you will notice lush instrumentation with things like lush harmonies, earthy acoustic guitar, piano, keyboards and various percussive accents. Turning our attention squarely on Arienette - as for her vocal abilities she has an infectious soprano showcasing a notable falsetto and delicate vibrato. Her voice also works well within the confines of this conservative catalogue reminiscent of Natalie Merchant and Hope Sandoval (Mazzy Star). I might add Arienette takes several vocal risks throughout the CD indicating to me a song & confident vocal ability. From upbeat “Little Bird” to tranquil ”La Luna” to striking “Last Call” and “Adrenaline” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with title track, the perfect finale piece waving you end for a smooth landing.
I’m not a fan of how the drums sound on this CD. Kick drum lacks low end punch. Snare drum lacks fullness and sounds extremely thin. This could indicate a bigger issue. Looking now to the production liner notes I really have no idea who the Production Engineers were (Recording, Mixing, Mastering). As a result the mix lacks dynamic, bottom end frequency and crystal clear high end clarity. As a result the CD has a lack luster quality to it. Some of the songs are a bit winded and repetitive. All songs over 3.5 minutes tend you drag you to the finish line. I fully realize this is a subjective art form but many of the afortmentioned issues do affect the CD's overall marketability.
From start to finish The Hardest of Fights from Arienette is an impressive catalogue of music. The music is very passionate, powerful and comes from a deeply honest perspective. Note for note, song for song there isn’t really weak piece on this entire catalogue. The strong suit of Arienette – the emotions showcased in her voice. Because of this, Arienette just brings the whole thing together.