reviews – music

Bare Bones by Aporia (2005)

Once in a great while you run across a band that defies labels. Some friends of mine discovered this dilemma in a very personal way while trying to promote their band The Jive Roster. One of the definitions they came up with was “nerd grove-rock,” which I thought captured their sound perfectly. They, however, realized that it’s hard as hell to sell yourself that way, and continued their quest for marketability.

By turns rowdy and subdued, Aporia’s latest release, Bare Bones, is such an album. Constantly catching you off guard, Aporia amps things up and then takes it easy with the very next breath. By turns defiant and yearning, complex and straight-up, silly and so so serious, this band creates a fresh and vibrant vibe lacking in many major releases these days.

Emily Mills (vocals & percussion) reminds me of Billie Holliday with her smooth delivery and rich timbre, even on the high notes. With an enviable range and haunting phrasing, Mills hooks up an I.V. of emotions and mainlines it straight into you. Justin Woodward (vocals & guitar) picks and strums deftly, creating some of the catchiest hooks I’ve heard in a long time. Delicate and passionate at the same time, he strings you along so well that you delight in how tangled up in the melody you’ve become. Moritz Burnard (bass & shamona) rounds out the trio with thumping, tripping bass lines that drive the energy on the fast sings and enhance the mood of the slow ones. Funky and full of attitude, he brings the groove to your doorstep and dares you to let him in.

Standouts among the song list are Meantime, a layered look at limbo; Bare Bones, an arpeggio of adoration; Inside Out, the story of a perfect an perilous night; and Easy, a dark look at desire. The whole album is incredible, though, turning and twisting its way into your heart. After the first listen, I accepted the inevitable and just pushed “repeat all.”

Damn you, Aporia, for making such fine music. May you have all the gigs you can handle.

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