London-born and NYC based, Louise Aubrie is a pop/punk singer/songwriter whose third album, Late 44, was released in March 2015.
The album consists of ten songs, most under four minutes, and is meticulously recorded and performed. Aubrie has worked with some fantastic musicians in her career so far, and many of them appeared on this album. Her backing band features members who played for Adam Ant, Morrissey, and The Ruts, and the album was produced by James Knight, who has worked with The Kooks and Ellie Goulding.
The songs are much more than name-dropping and star power. They are simple, well-crafted tracks which lean heavily towards pop. Aubrie knows how to write strophic songs: her choruses are catchy, her verses are interesting, and her bridges are dissimilar from the rest of the song, and rousing.
The album is very clean; it’s produced and mixed well, and there isn’t a lot of distortion or ambient noise. I’m actually not sure I liked that, considering Aubrie bills herself as pop/punk. I didn’t hear a lot of the punk, besides the electric guitars. That being said, it was enjoyable to hear all of the instruments, the volumes of which are, might I add, masterfully mixed.
Aubrie’s reedy mezzo shines on many of these songs. Track #2 “Tearjerker” fits her voice well, and she is perfectly in tune throughout the whole song. Again, not very punk, but very pleasant. Her higher register is thin and track #4 “Winter Dolour” doesn’t compliment it well. Along those nitpicking lines, there’s a quick descending major third interval to a bVI in track #5 “Too Late” which, while sung in tune, was a little jarring.
My favourite track was #9 “One False Move,” which has her singing in a lower key, and a fun break into 70s rock riffs had me smiling. Her vocal harmonies are impeccable and her sophisticated musicality is definitely present. She wields modal interchange, instrumental layering and refrain placement with fluidity and fastidiousness, and while I’m not sure if she’s studied music, her comfort with classic songwriting strategies makes it seem so.
My biggest problem with the album is its cleanliness and occasional insipid nature. There isn’t a lot of punk growl or squeals or yelling, and Aubrie sings well but sometimes sounds unconcerned with her subject material.
However, it’s a pop-punk album, and the pop side seems to be working just fine; all of the songs have over 10,000 plays on Soundcloud, and many of them have over 20,000. Aubrie’s music is clearly connecting with people, and it doesn’t surprise me. Her musicianship, connections, vocal intonation and knowledge of songwriting would make it difficult for her to remain unheard. Listen on Soundcloud here.
3. Perfect Battle Cry
4. Winter Dolour
5. Too Late
6. Next To Nothing
7. Kiss Of Life
9. One False Move
10. Please Don't Touch