Today is the release of Rich Aucoin‘s long awaited fourth album called United States which is out on Haven Sounds.
With what is going on in the United States.
This couldn’t come at an interesting time with the upcoming election, pandemic and BLM/race relations going.
Either be informed or either tune out.
Rich’s United States is 13 tracks filled with fun electro-dance pop music that you can sing and dance.
United States is ambitious and thought-provoking which gets its point across.
Definitely a solid album Rich has put out in 2020.
About the album:
In the spring of 2018, Aucoin set off from Los Angeles on one of his customarily challenging (and eco-friendly) tours. Final stop: New York City. Vehicle: Bicycle.
He travelled the perimeter of the United States, down the west coast, across the south, and up the eastern seaboard. He saw a country, two years into a dictatorship, divided and hurting. A pair of wheels and his own two feet took him through landscapes varied in their construction and grandeur, from the boarded-up storefronts of Route 66 to the fountain formation of Red Rocks. Tiny towns and major cities. Thriving and fading.
At night, after cycling dozens of kilometres in a day, he would write about and demo the things he saw. Two years later, with its namesake country on the precipice of ruin, he’s turned that travelogue into United States: A journey through the states of consciousness that unite us all.
He began with an idea in each state, and fleshed those out lyrically while staying connected to something in that state, creating a living historical document: Opener “Kayfabe” (California) updates the Beach Boys; “How It Breaks” (Arizona) is the only song that contains a recording from the original trip; “Walls” (Texas) references the wall being built at the US-Mexico border; and closer “American Dream” (New York) evokes the Statue of Liberty, the traditional starting place for immigrants seeking the American Dream.
The dozen songs of United States are pure pop—a passive listener might miss the political, socio-economic, and humanistic observations threaded in their lyrics. Always one to trumpet and pay tribute to his influences, Aucoin digs into the history of American music as far back as New Orleans R&B and as recent as the garage rock made by the White Stripes in Detroit and the gauzy indie spun by Beach House from Baltimore, art made from major American cities that have fallen and been reborn.
As a Canadian visiting another land, Aucoin also holds a keen outsider’s perspective, as David Bowie did in the 1970s when he wrote Young Americans. “How It Breaks” is a veritable United Nations of style, with the vocal melody riffing on The Beatles “Come Together” while using the same Garageband sample as Rihanna’s “Umbrella.” In addition to the physical territory Aucoin traversed, he’s travelling new artistic ground as well: This is the quickest he’s ever made an album, recording it in a handful of studios across Canada. It’s got just 16 collaborators. It doesn’t sync up with an existing film. It’s a deliberately minimal work from a joyously maximal artist. True, he had to power himself across an entire country, but he came out on the other side with his most focused, deeply realized, catchiest album yet.
As the United States reckons with its narcissistic leader, its splintering systems, and a fed-up populace determined to have its voice heard, United States offers a soundtrack for these unwieldy, unpredictable days. It doesn’t pull any punches or sugarcoat any truths, but it’s got faith, and hope, and heart.
United States gets: