ABOVE: AROARA’S ANDREW WHITEMAN AND ARIEL ENGLE
For its debut full-length, the self-described “faux-folk ghost science” duo AroarA (comprised of Broken Social Scene’s Andrew Whiteman and his wife Ariel Engle) found inspiration someplace unexpected: in the work of avant-garde poet Alice Notley, whose 2007 collection In the Pines centers on a series of Depression-era visions and was written while Notley was undergoing difficult treatment for hepatitis C. The 14 songs on AroarA’s album of the same name correspond to the 14 poems in Notley’s work, transmuting her words into folksy song structures and recording them in living rooms throughout Canada.
“#13,” which we’re pleased to premiere here, tells the story of a wanderer making her way through a kind of ghost-ridden dreamscape, navigating “spirits thick as bats” in pursuit of a lover. “I’m going to find your soul,” the chorus finds Engle promising resolutely, in a moony, unaffected alto, before a puzzling twist: “If I find your soul, do you want it?” Combined with languid, vaporous production—which may sound familiar to those familiar with Whiteman’s work in Apostle of Hustle—the effect is something suspended and lovely, like wandering through a fully furnished but long-abandoned room.
IN THE PINES IS OUT NOW. FOR MORE ON AROARA, PLEASE VISIT THE DUO’S WEBSITE.