- INDIAN SUMMER
their first album since 2005, Auburn offer up a selection of acoustically
driven songs that are perhaps best described as an acquired taste.
At least, that’s the case with vocalist Liz Lenten, who
is the most immediately impactful part of these tracks, with her
breathy childlike voice being entrancing or irritating, depending
on your point of view – and on the track being performed.
And if you remove her from the equation, you’re left with
a pretty bland record.
Upbeat jazz-folk numbers like opener Shame On You
manage to pull of the trick of allowing her quirky voice to at
least avoid being irritating; ballads like Only the
Strong and the title track tend to expose her weaknesses,
and this is a problem, because these tracks make up the bulk of
the album. The latter track, in fact, feels like the very worst
of laid back jazz – meandering, tuneless and effortlessly
annoying. It’s clearly supposed to be a chill-out number,
but for this writer, it actually had quite the opposite effect.
Some other tracks, like Free Spirit
are less aurally annoying, but do suffer from another album-wide
tendency – namely rather glib ‘life affirming’
lyrics about seizing the day, grabbing the moment and generally
acting like someone from a tampon commercial - on This
is the Life, we're offered up a constant stream
of inanities like 'this is the life/make sure you live it/there's
no second chance/you can't forgive it' and 'stop complaining,
time goes by too fast/just live every day as if it were your last/take
every opportunity to savour every hour/you can make it happen,
that's your power' - just what someone stuck in a soul-sucking
job with a family to support will love to hear I bet.
This might be an unfair criticism – if you like your music
relentlessly positive and full of hippy sentiments, you might
well feel differently. And you’ll probably love
horrible reggae number Day Dreamin’,
which I can easily see armies of stoned, dreadlocked, trying-too-hard
white thirty-somethings grooving to at some grisly small-scale
Too Far from Home benefits from a fiddling
appearance by Eliza Carty – but she can’t really lift
the song, simply because it’s another one-dimensional effort.
While there is nothing wrong with simple lyrics and simple music,
they need some honest emotion to work – and I couldn’t
hear any of that here. Instead, it all felt rather contrived and
calculated, more simplistic than simple, and left me cold. I’m
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