I think it’s time to take a trip across the pond to check out the new EP from Detroit raised, Chicago based singer Eryn Allen Kane. The EP is called Aviary: Act II and it is nothing short of sensational. Act II believe it or not is the follow up to the singer’s debut Aviary: Act I which was released in November last year.
Having previously caught the ear of SPIN, 1Xtra, Complex, Prince (Yeah that Prince….) and Spike Lee among others Kane is quickly making a name for herself as one of the hottest up and coming Soul singers around.
The record gets underway with the beautifully smooth Sunday. This Gospel tinged tune was the first thing that I heard from Kane and it hooked me instantly. Her vocal is absolutely incredible; it’s smooth yet powerful and just has that sprinkling of magic which makes you smile. The backing vocals here also really help build the track to brilliantly soulful heights.
Honey is quicker and more feet of foot while also carrying a great retro feel. The production on this EP is so sharp and to the point meaning that even during the more grand displays such as here, it doesn’t overshadow the rest of the song. Everything about these songs fits together so incredibly well, everything is in perfect harmony. Following track How Many Times is seriously powerful stuff. The protest song was debuted on MLK day (January 17th) and you can almost reach out and grab the passion which is tumbling from every word. Up to this point we’d only been shown ‘sweet and soulful’ Eryn, but this track couldn’t be more different to what went before it. This is big.
Penultimate track Now And Then is currently in a tie for the prize of my favourite along with the last song which I’ll get to in a minute. For the first time an acoustic guitar arrives to blend seamlessly with the vocal from Kane and the piano which has been such a feature of this record. The song conjures up images of sun-drenched afternoons and to my ear would make a perfect single. The guitar solo works really well and the slow and thoughtful pace allows the song to really shine.
The tempo quickens for finale Dead Or Alive, and what a finale it is. Again it’s got a brilliant old-school feel and is a series of head-nodding rhythms and melodies. I love the bassline which hums through so clearly and the way which that interacts with the brass and the strings later on is brilliant. The track also features its own ‘call and response’ section in classically old school tradition. I’d love to see this song performed live, it shows another facet of Eryn Allen Kane’s talent and is a great way to end the EP.
Aviary: Act II is a must have for any soul fans out there reading this. Kane’s vocal is mesmeric and drenched in the finest soul tradition with a modern twist. The songs speak for themselves in terms of quality and you really will struggle to hear a better record than this all year.
March 1st – New York, City – Rockwood Music Hall
March 3rd – Philadelphia, PA – Milkboy
March 6th – Okeechobee, FL – Okeechobee Music Festival
March 8th – Atlanta, GA – Smith’s Olde Bar
March 9th – Nashville, TN – The Stone Fox
March 15-20th – Austin, TX – SXSW showcases TBA
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