The Aurian Haller Band successfully sprawls across the genre-scape; from indie-folk to country-twang to experimental jazz, this quartet ignites aural sparks in their new album released earlier this month, House of Words. The band merges together poetic songwriting with instrumental coordination into a well crafted package, displaying their folk melodies which ring reminiscent of Leonard Cohen. Based out of Quebec City, frontman Aurian Haller is no stranger to pen and paper, having won multiple awards for his books on poetry in the last recent years. While there are occasional lulls interspersed throughout the album and tracks that may be marked as simply “easy listening”, as a whole the album certainly holds emotional depth and strong musicianship throughout.
“Wolf at the Door” is House of Words‘ intro track, giving a taste of the band’s indie-folk sensibilities with Haller’s soaring and haunting vocals drawing forth the spirit of Jeff Buckley. Upon stepping through the threshold, the album’s self-titled second track “House of Words” emphasizes Haller’s desire to “built a house of words with thin walls to be overheard”, starting with a gradual upbeat tempo and ending with female vocals glazing in the background, as if the listener is aware of a secret left untold as her voice gradually fades into a whisper. “River Flow” pops as a more psychedelic blues song, evoking Jim Morrison-esque vocals with their groovy rock instrumentals, albeit in a more toned-down version. The band exerts their bilingual influences on tracks like “Faconne Abandonne”, and while the lyrics may remain unknown for those that don’t speak French, the song showcases The Aurian Haller Band’s layered instrumental compositions and expert skill sets from each musician. The album closes with Haller’s articulated spoken word combined with avant-garde and experimental percussion and sound on “Tripwire”; for anyone that may have doubted Haller’s capabilities as a poet, his subtlety and artistic proficiency etched on their closing track is plenty enough to change anyone’s mind.
Spanning about a year to create House of Words, Aurian Haller says, “[t]he biggest rush is the writing process, and then seeing and hearing it come into being takes it to a whole new level”. Haller’s writing is undoubtedly significant and thought-provoking, but upon adding distinct musical arrangements does this album truly come alive.