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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Aroah
The Last Laugh
Acuarela Discos

Rating: 8/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Aroah, driven by singer-songwriter Irene Tremblay, has assembled a forceful yet enchanting folk rock album in her second LP, The Last Laugh. Tremblay's acoustic strumming and softly delivered, pretty vocals are the centerpiece for every song; however, she also incorporates drums, electric guitar, bass, cello and a xylophone (amongst other odds and ends), giving her threadbare folk rock a fuller, more complete sound.

Capturing the childlike quality of Tremblay's voice, "Katherine Says" is a beautifully catchy pop-folk song - short, bittersweet, and memorable. Her suppressed whisper reaches for higher notes, creating an off-kilter tension. This formula results in some of her stronger songs, saving Tremblay from sounding as if she is merely singing lullabies to her audience. Her quietly delivered questions and answers are at times reminiscent of Joni Mitchell, notably recalled in the careful, subdued plucking of "The Lonely Drunk."

Throughout the album, Tremblay's low-key vocals, restrained harmonies and timely guitar playing serve as a strong backbone - but that strength, begins to lag in the middle and needs picking up.

When varying her melodies, she perks up the listener, as in "Sick in the Body, Sick in the Head" and "Madrid." Other songs border on the monotonous, like "Upside Down" and "Y La Cinta De 'Los Bingueros.'"

On "Sick in the Body..." there is a touch of hostility in Tremblay's voice that is a needed change in her chime-like tone; it is also fitting with the song's content about lying and infidelity. Thankfully, Tremblay handles lyrics about lost friends, disappointment and lovesickness in a way that is as calming and unobtrusive as her music. "Madrid" catches Tremblay stretching her vocals and making use of the flute, which gives way to a serene, but playful, background for her Spanish influenced guitar playing.

The Last Laugh concludes with the airy "Schooling," using a layering of vocals, guitars, drums, and spacey waves of electric background noise that do no harm in overpowering the music. Tremblay's voice bleeds into the instrumentation, providing a steady harmony between the two and ending the record with notes that fixedly drive, then collapse at album's close.

Reviewed by Abbie Amadio
The last we heard Abbie Amadio, a former contributor to LAS, was based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

See other reviews by Abbie Amadio

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