The members of Arora comprised of Melanie Sheehy (vocals), Byron Goodwin (drums/electric kit), Richard Rose (bass), Michael Filmer Smith (keys/organ) and Tim Scholl (guitar/electric kit) were members in other bands for about five years before they came together.
Their recent EP Stop & Watch is a three-song EP, which is a bit of a sampler showcasing the variety of style the band is capable of. Truth be told there aren’t many drastic deviations which is a good thing but enough to display their versatility.
The title track is more or less a pop/rock song but with some unique elements. It starts with what sounds like 808 kick drum, clean guitar and vocals. Sheehy has a soulful voice that you could imagine singing the blues if not a rock song. In the first minute the song has an electronic feel but changes once the organic drums and organ come into the mix. The song becomes fleshed out and more powerful as it progresses.
Some of the lyrics come off as inspirational quotes you could live by. Sheehy sings, “It's all about how you handle frustration / Learning to be patient when the world is against you / If you can forgive and forget and learn not to regret / But if you want to give up here's what you can do.”
The next track “The World As You Know It” starts which some wicked, atmospheric guitar action. Once the verse hits the feel becomes a bit more grounded as it has a bit of a Fleetwood Mac vibe. Especially towards the end when the horns come in. Overall, it’s a strong displaying the strengths of the band.
They close with “Hang Tough” which I thought was the highlight of the three. I especially loved how the electric bass, guitar and electronic drums hung together during the beginning. In fact I wish that part lasted longer. That being said there is a sweet bass line on the second verse and arguably the most infectious vocal melody. Sheehy sings, “With heat and anger over all the grief; hold it in your heart Your words; the cloud can only hold onto so much rain.” Towards the end the band lets loose and jams out with prog rock 101 type scales.
After spending sometime with Stop & Watch I can say the band accomplished what they set out to do. A full-length will is probably in the works. So keep your eye on them.
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