Design By Humans
Published On: Mon, Apr 18th, 2022

Aura Blaze: Open-Mindedness

Aura Blaze
(Cleopatra Records)

Buy it at Amazon!

Open-Mindedness opens an EP of the same name from Rhode Rachel’s Aura Blaze. This trio of tunes, written (save for the last track, a cover of The Charlatans, “The Only One I Know,”) is played, sung, and produced by Rachel.

Pretty much throwing everything into the white soul opener—trilling keys, big pumping beat, almost Bee Gee’s-like harmonies, sailing guitar lines, funky drums—one has got to ask, where next might this NJ-based musician take us?

Rachel/Blaze answers that question with an opening bird song, then synth strings and big rolling bass and drums on the middle tune, “The Summer Solstice.” This sounds like Moody Blues, filtered through some Bowie via any New Wave band of the ’80s; I love the production as much as the obvious vocal prowess we get here. The instrumental break reveals a musician of high order, as if we didn’t know this from the first tune, and I love how you can as much trip out on this song as sing-a-along.

The epic cover of “The Only One I Know” ends Open-Mindedness. There is a full-tilt prog-rock opening, into a wagging keys sound, funky bass, and organ, and then we are into the longest song on this EP. We just get to two minutes before the vocal starts proper, and by then the whole groovy production has got you. Slipping in leads, those harmonies, organ bed, bass leading a guitar lead…great stuff!

Even the ending is wacky, and key-gated switch-up come down. How can you not love an EP this audacious, a musician having this much fun, and a sound delivered up to make you smile?

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Aura Blaze: Open-Mindedness