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Quebec City’s Aurian Haller Band may essentially be the brainchild of its namesake, but on their new album, House of Words, they present a uniquely wistful and melancholy brand of folk, at once both inviting and harrowing. Haller often mimics the phrasing style of Leonard Cohen, but his delivery his far less cold. In fact, it often sounds like he’s almost crying in the middle of some songs, as if you’re listening to one man dealing with his demons right before you.
Haller sings in both English and French, sometimes both in the same song like “Les orphelins.” It only proves the weight of his songs relies more on his beautifully emotional delivery. He also channels the melancholy country folk of Neil Young on songs like “Sister Moon” and “Window in a Mirror.”
But some of the best numbers here have to be the piano ballads, especially “If Only.” It allows his voice to come more to the forefront and heightens the deeply moving feelings presented. House of Words is a great record, regardless of whether you’re looking for something upbeat or something to cry along to, and the humbleness of the album makes its charms only come out more with repeated listens.
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