Aaron Rickel’s five-track EP Blood and Bone fits perfectly in today’s indie music, especially among those operating on the cooler, calmer side. The theme is one of finding purpose and finding home. According to Rickel, he wrote these songs in very different environments. From somewhere as mundane as a white-walled room to a rooftop in Los Angeles.
The songs are very freeform and for the most part on the tender side; quietly questioning and exploring. While these songs were conceived in various places, the tone is very cohesive throughout.
Overall, the quality of the music is excellent with a constant cool beach-y undertone. He has solid vocals that bring a very earnest punctuation to his lyrics. There’s good music here, all of it, but there was a distinct pattern of big crescendos that brought this cool exciting vibe and then he would immediately slam the breaks on it. It felt like there was a bit of a fear to break out of the mellow. To be completely honest, it drove me a little nuts. There’s so much building and the climaxes would come and go so fast. Within these epic, faster moments are distinctive and fun sounds. I needed more of those big moments, in fact, I would’ve loved at least one full track of just crescendo, go nuts. I think he has more than mastered this mellow, freeform sound; I want to hear him go off the rails a bit.
The lyrics were interesting, a good mix of metaphorical and literal. I get the sense from track three “Questions” that faith and religion have a big part to play here however, Rickel only briefly discussed faith in his submission to us. I feel like there’s more to this story, something worth exploring. Beyond my review work here, I write comic books and fiction novels. I cannot tell you how many times I have completely overlooked messages and themes I put into my work without even realizing it. If I have the time, I make sure to get back in there and pursue those subconscious messages, and I’m always glad I did. Writer to writer, I really encourage Rickel to do the same, I think it would make for an even more personal and engaging story.
This EP was produced by Zac Monte of Pravitas Studios and he added a clean, professional touch to Rickel’s sound. As I said, this music blends in with today’s indie pop scene, but then again, maybe too well. I know there’s tons of music out there and people are eventually going to bump into one another but I think Rickel is more than capable of finding his signature.
After listening to the entire EP, I started poking around. Also under Rickel’s belt is a separately released single called “Waimea.” Any surf nerd knows this a legendary, big wave surf spot in Oahu and the song brings that to life. The single is livelier than anything on Blood and Bone. Suddenly I felt like I had finally met this artist and had a better understanding of him.
Rickel’s work illustrates to me that this is someone who wants to make quality music. I think he has a great support system with Zac Monte and I have no doubt there is more music on the way and I’m genuinely curious to hear it.
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