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Aruba Red - Shadow Work

  by Zena Grieg

published: 25 / 6 / 2020

Aruba Red - Shadow Work
Label: Traveling Child
Format: Download


Intensely personal but ultimately hopeful EP from London-based singer-songwriter Aruba Red

Showcased in her impressive debut headline show in the intimate, candlelit setting of St. Pancras Old Church, London, just before the lockdown, the new EP ‘Shadow Work’ released early March, available on digital platforms, is an important next step in the compelling musical journey of the multi-talented musician and songwriter Aruba Red. She sees this collection as songs that “purify a lifetime of toxicity.” ‘Shadow Work’ is informed by intensely personal and disturbing experiences, each song title encapsulating a step towards catharsis. The opener, ‘Blue', which appeared in video, is a song about the letting go of a relationship with the painful steps this entails, its keyboard-led introduction and intricate guitar and drums complementing the soaring lyrics and powerful vocals. ‘Release Me’ is a song about an abusive relationship, its unrelenting bass riff reflecting the hard-hitting lyrics “kicked me out of the car when I was eight months gone”, its angry refrain of “Please release me/You’re living rent-free in my mind/Please release me/You’ve taken too much of my time” culminating in the positive affirmation “I’m gonna set myself free.” ‘Change’ opens with heavily synthed strings, moving through a distorted, unsettling bass, setting off the initially sorrowful lyrics, onto a Hammond-sounding organ and layered backing vocal. In soul territory, it is an ultimately optimistic track with its exhortation “to change and break free.” ‘Trust’ with its complex arrangement, featuring shakers, washboards, djembe-like drums is a musically-layered piece demonstrating Aruba Red’s technical ability, its hypnotic, meditative mood in synergy with the positive, uplifting message of the song. The EP closes with ‘Butterfly’, a Neo Soul track featuring Asian Dub Foundation’s Nathan “Flutebox” Lee on flute, evoking the image of a butterfly beginning a new life, its message to take off what weighs down: “I see you fly/Like a butterfly.” ‘Shadow Work’ with its genre-shifting, eclectic music and unflinching lyrics, enhanced by a skilful production and excellent backing musicians, creates a new captivating sound, taking the listener on a journey through pain and disappointment towards self-knowledge and liberation, a ray of hope in this dark and uncertain time

Track Listing:-
1 Blue
2 Release Me
3 Change
4 Trust
5 Butterfly

Band Links:-

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