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Arum Rae “Waving Wild” album review


by Matt Caprioli

A native of Austin, Texas and graduate of Boston’s Berklee College of Music, Arum Rae Valkonen, (stage name “Arum Rae”) has honed her minimalist tendencies since 2004. Over the past decade, she’s shared the stage with Dan Auerbach, Willie Nelson, and Gary Clark Jr. Her fourth EP, Waving Wild, is slated for release November 4th.

Waving Wild will be the second release Rae dropped this year. The Warranted Queen  came out April 22. In just seven months, Rae has decidedly moved toward a more contemplative, somber state. “Visions” describes Rae walking through her adopted city of New York. It’s a beautiful track, and a definite highlight. (A stripped down version is available here, formerly called “I Got Visions”)

Like Warranted Queen, Rae is drifting from her minimal, almost anti-folk past to a much more complex symphony. Proof of the growing complexity is John Congleton, (St. Vincent, David Byrne, and Swans) who remixed and mastered Waving Wild. It seems partially due to his influence that her musical offerings have lately been labeled “experimental pop”.

The headlong “Let’s Shake” is a catchy dance tune that will probably land on the ending credits of a Girls episode. Entertainment Weekly called the track, “a bracing, stripped-down, full-speed-ahead reminder that, oh yeah, rock ‘n’ roll is dance music at heart.” The title track “Waving Wild” is a tight turn away from “Let’s Shake,” and has drawn comparisons to Lorde and Phantogram.

“You Can’t Tell” is the final track of the EP, and possesses an unhinged rhythm similar to “Let’s Shake.” It’s the perfect closing track for an EP whose range of innovation is a wild joy.

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