By Maci Woody
Local Music Journalist
Artist: Arielle LaGuette
Album: Arielle LaGuette EP
Release Date: January 2016
Looking for new music to add to your summer ’17 chill playlist? Look no further than Austin, Texas’ own musical embodiment of sunshine and easy times, Arielle LaGuette. LaGuette has been busy performing both musically and theatrically all over Texas, and has teamed up with Flock of Seagulls’ guitarist, Joe Rodriguez, to put out her latest work. Her self-titled EP features 4 upbeat tracks that deal with both love and loss, yet remain optimistic through it all. Her sheer positivity and whimsical ukulele playing have helped shape and refine her dreamy, lackadaisical indie/surf pop style.
Her first track, “Caution By The Seaside”, is a great introduction song for the EP because the song is not too intense, and really flaunts the two things that personify Arielle LaGuette; her husky lilting vocals and her happy-go-lucky instrument of choice, the ukulele. The lyrics of the song carry the same beachy motif that can be felt echoing through the other instruments such as the guitar’s surf-rock inspired use of reverb and the laid-back rhythm of the percussion which brings out the sway-able nature of the piece and genre. The carefree “do do do” vocals in the bridge really seal in and exemplify the overall mellowness of the song. The carefree mellowness and sway-ability carries on through the next two songs, “Easing Your Heart” and “Loose Ends”.
“Easing Your Heart” is a deceptively cheerful sounding song for having such a melancholic subject matter. The singer is wishing nothing but the best for a failed past love. They are sacrificing being together so that they can both be truly happy. It is uncommon to hear a song take an unselfish, and optimistic outlook on the tragedy of ending a relationship that may or may not have been toxic to one or both parties. More often than not, there is a strong biting resentment or selfish need to continue a toxic relationship out of unwillingness to see the person with anyone else that permeates these types of songs and promotes this behavior throughout our culture. That being said, LaGuette’s genuinely compassionate lyrics, in spite of her own heartache, are something we all desperately need in the music industry and I hope to see more of in the future.
“Loose Ends” has me convinced that Arielle LaGuette is America’s Natalia LaFourcade. This song is reminiscent of “Limosna” by the talented Mexican pop star and has the same breezy lovesick disposition. This song is playful, flirty, and just a tad forlorn. The speaker details her tempestuous whirlwind romance that runs hot and cold seemingly unpredictably. The instruments mirror this perfectly by abruptly shifting from upbeat peppy strumming to choppy staccato pulses.
The EP concludes with the track “Waiting”, which is the most brisk and intense song on the album. It’s true surf rock, more so than the other songs. The guitar and bass are more prominent, both of which are staples of classic ‘60s surf rock. The “Mhmmmm” background vocals are evocative of a mother chastising her young child for attempting to grab something they should not. The whole song is a warning to the love interest of the singer. It seems to say, ‘Watch out! Fix your behavior, or I’m gone.’ The vocals follow the rise and fall of an arpeggio, which gives them a mischievous character. The serious subject matter is offset once again by the blasé carefree nature of LaGuette, who really does not seem to get too dismayed by anything. The flirtatious and impish yet good-hearted song ends the EP on a delightfully jubilant note, which is perfectly fitting for someone as lively and positive as Arielle LaGuette.