Aunt Vicki is a two-piece guy/girl duo comprised of Erin Campbell and Lee Dyer from New Orleans, Louisiana who recently released their self-titled album Aunt Vicki. Their music is highly original. It’s usually minimal, dark and atmospheric but that’s really just the beginning.
“Ouroboros” sounds like it works perfectly in True Detective Season 1. It starts with a bit of Jim Morrison like spoken word bit but as the song unfolds it goes into all these different areas. There is some noir that comes in the form of haunting horns and also some David Lynch/Twin Peaks vibes. Perhaps most importantly there are memorable melodies and movement despite there being no drums in a traditional sense.
“Vision” is a little more guitar based but it’s the unique structure and catchy melodies which sold me that this was going to be another interesting journey. Up to now we only heard the female vocal but on “Down In The Valley” we get to hear the yang rather than the yin. Dyer puts a lot of emotion into the performance and stresses certain words which is an affectation. It works but the best moments are vocal harmonies where they conjure a very infectious chorus which sounds straight from the ’60s.
“The Crowd” might be the best yet. The guitar work here is technically and creatively engaging. It’s also has a very gothic feel to it, at least in parts. I think some of the brilliance here is the way they weave in and out of the darkness and do it in a way that doesn't feel contrived.
The duo is just getting started with their carnival of sounds. The way they can flow between moods and never find a need for percussion is a delicate balance. I never really felt the need for drums.
There are some other moods they hit upon. They seem to summon the Eastern winds of Persia on “This Old Blue World” while the “Body Like A Cave” contains some of the saddest horns since Laughing Stock by Talk Talk. The chasm of cosmic atmosphere is not to be missed on “Heavy Lines” and the minimal piano closer “Things” which seems to be a reflection of the compromised technology times we live in and what might get lost in translation.
I was looking at their website and their post on their instagram that says “Aunt Vicki got married.” Suffice it to say it seems they are an item. I first of all just want to say normally I spot these things a mile away but didn't here. Duos who are also partners often write songs about how in love they are which by all accounts is cringeworthy. I didn’t get any of that so thank you kindly. And if there are songs about romantic love they make it happen without the typical saccharine.
Married or not this is simply one of the more unique and original collection of songs I have heard this year that melds disparate elements and ideas into a strikingly cohesive vision. Highly recommended.
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