Starting out with a Velvet Underground/Talking Heads meets Replacements style of retro-sixties rock, Ariel Aparicio calls up the still-living spirit of Iggy Pop. The Hired Guns don’t do much for Ariel in creating a coherent sound, making the entirety of “Punk Rock Girl” sound more like a mashup of different half-assed tracks instead of something put forth as one specific entity. Maintaining some of the same stylistic, psychedelic-rock sound that drove “Punk Rock Girl”, “All My Life” is actually something I could conceivably hear on the radio instead of being a mish-mash of twelve tracks (you know, like how BitTorrent will scramble tracks until all the material is downloaded). Finally reaching a stylistic orgasm with the heavy and hard-rocking epic “Blue”, the Hired Guns provide almost a Zepplin-esque (yes, even in terms of musical talent) backdrop over which Ariel renders eir music. While the Bowie comparisons are only tenuous at best in regards to Ariel’s delivery (the press sheets are mention the fact a number of times), I honestly feel as if the term is some form of restraint on Ariel. For Ariel does not honestly sound like any star, however impressive they may be (like in Bowie’s case). Ariel is eir own style, and with eir own voice makes something as impressive as the musical opening to “Get Happy”, a paean to Frank Zappa’s backup band if I’ve ever heard one.
Moving more into a laidback, reggae-ska sound for the aforementioned "Get Happy", Ariel charts as someone who is as innovative as the music that backs eir up.One could necessarily thrive without the help of the other, something that one just doesn’t see in newer music. I can’t recall the number of times that I’ve reviewed a disc and an instrumental comes on, only to sound incomplete.
Ariel’s work is something that is exciting in whatever mileau one finds themselves. For GLBT-themed music (which often-enough just entails being a GLBT person), Ariuel’s music is fresh and new, a nice change from the legions of sub-par bands that will forever get gigs just because they have a queer kid in them. This is a transcendent album any way you splice it, and aside from being well-down, it is hard-hitting, emotionally-affecting, and overall a definite treat to listen. Here’s looking forward to Ariel’s next piece of work. Check out the country-rock track “Brenda Lee” for a glimpse on exactly how versatile Ariel is, and one will begin to see why exactly ey has charted #1s everywhere.
Top Track: The Pill