June 4, 2019 Aurora – A Different Kind of Human (Step II) (Album Review)
Home has many different meanings, from a country of origin, to a long-lived residence, or the love of family. For Norwegian Artist Aurora, the idea of home, namely planet Earth, is reflected in her newest album, A Different Kind of Human (Step II), due out on Friday, June 7th through Glassnote Records. The second chapter of the second studio album overall, it explores the human condition and what it truly means to be alive through thoughtful lyrics, mellifluous vocals, and emancipating instrumentals. All of the elements come together to create a spirited ambiance that never fades, so are you ready to step into the unknown?
Complete with 11 songs, “The River” opens the album and it greets with a fluttering beat like the wings of a butterfly. An interesting start, the song can most easily be summed up when Aurora’s quiet, angelic voice sings, “do you miss the sadness when it’s gone.” Next, “Animal” opens with a tribal drum beat, and while it occurs repeatedly through the album, Aurora is accompanied by an ensemble as she sings of a primal kind of love and giving into the animal within despite our unnatural world. The chorus is catchy and upbeat with a lyric of “hunting for love, killing for pleasure” that are sure to get caught on repeat. The following song, “Dance on the Moon” begins with a slower, more melancholy sway but carries an endearing quality to it. An uplifting group serenade of her voice carries upwards through the track and encircles you until the end.
Moving along, “Daydreamer” is instrumentally based with a xylophone and a pleasant whirring effect. Thereafter, “Hunger” vocally is the most emboldened as Aurora’s singing plays on the forefront. It stirs something from within while incorporating and utilizing her voice as an occasionally unconventional instrument with a variety of musical production techniques. With “Soulless Creatures” a soul capturing siren melody begins the track accompanied by synth and piano that only strengthen the presence of her voice. It’s the longest piece of the album, timing in at 5 minutes and 2 seconds, but has a full sound, resonating more like a symphonic performance that fills every last moment.
In contrast, “In Bottles” is a dark and haunting experience that expands into a larger, less finite incarnation of itself. Then the title-track, “A Different Kind of Human,” enters with sounds of perhaps an extraterrestrial transmission before it gives way to a low humming. This is while “Apple Tree” is like an alarm clock, immediately striking with its alert and energized beat. Speaking of energy, “The Seed” builds to a booming thunder in the chorus before growing and decaying like the life cycle of a great empire. Lastly, “Mothership” is primary comprised of interweaving layers and harmonies of her voice, all cultivating to the line, “Hello, you are home.“
Aurora comes off as confident in her serene voice, whether in the broad lower octaves of her range or airy high notes and fluttering melodies. The effects on the record are selective and resulting in an overall effervescent album. That said, A Different Kind of Human (Step II) is a beautiful, fairy-like ambiance of vocals, synth, and soul-provoking lyrics that perfectly express what the title puts into words in a simplistic but far from barren manner. For these reasons, Cryptic Rock gives the album 4 out of 5 stars.