The Scalpel and the Soul is a one-man indie rock/classical project by Armen Sarrafian from Tucson, AZ. His release My Oxygen is a very serious album dealing with adversity and problems that are bigger than yourself. According to Sarrafian, “From the Syrian refugee crisis, to past/ modern Genocide, and struggles of personal nature, the album is an uncompromising account of one's limits and courage in the face of adversity.”
The delivery on My Oxygen is so serious and overly melodramatic at times it comes off as comedic. It’s thematic and he sings as if he is in a play. Take for instance the track “Electricity And I Love You” which revolves around distorted guitars, drums and a spirited vocal performance. He is sort of singing yet kind of talking. I’m not completely sure what was going on here. The song isn’t very catchy and really has no hooks but is still enjoyable in an off-kilter way.
“Must You Starve?” starts off with heavy guitars and drums before it drips into vocals and synths. It feels like it's out of a play. Sarrafian’s delivery is hyperbolic; it’s really hard to take seriously. Then there is “Polygraph” which I’m not even sure how to describe. The theatrics and his delivery is if nothing else heartfelt. He utilizes a couple of patches from his keyboard that you have surely heard before if you owned a key. Do you remember the “orchestral strike” patch?
Then we come to “Memorial Skies” which is an atmospheric song, which revolves around a couple of pads and Sarrafian speaking with utter reverence. It was hard to make out what he was actually talking about. Lots of poetic ambiguity. “Lately Love” is overloaded with so much percussion I couldn't concentrate on anything else while “Every Drop of Ecstasy” is perhaps the most over the top song on the album
At the very least Sarrafian is obviously doing what he wants. You have to respect that. I don’t expect to hear his songs on mainstream radio anytime soon but they could possibly end up in some indie play with a shoestring budget.
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