by Carina Lawrence / Dark Art Conspiracy
The creative force that is Auri features Finnish singer Johanna Kurkela and Nightwish’s keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen and multi-instrumentalist Troy Donockley. Although they formed in 2011, it wasn’t until 2018 that they unveiled their debut self-titled album, which showcased their ethereal sound. Now with their sophomore release, ‘Auri: II – Those We Don’t Speak Of’, they are back to enamour us once more with their unique and wondrous music.
Getting things started is the title track, ‘Those We Don’t Speak Of,’ which begins on a very eerie and haunting note which would be well placed on a horror film soundtrack. It is beautiful yet ominous and an intriguing way to start the album as it slowly creeps along and sets you on the fantastical path.
‘The Valley’ is immediately more calming and upbeat to put you at ease. Johanna’s captivating and tender voice fits the more folk-inspired sound wonderfully. The track showcases an array of charming instruments and prominent keys and builds in a superb crescendo.
The adventurous ‘The Duty Of Dust’ is one of the longest songs and sees more notable vocals from Troy in addition to Johanna’s angelic voice and is all-consuming through its skilful structure. The joyous and grand ‘Pearl Diving’ makes you feel at one with nature with the backing sounds and atmosphere. The song is the embodiment of walking through a forest or luxurious countryside or other scenic landscapes or, of course, the feeling of actually pearl hunting. It puts you in a very uplifting mood.
The delicate ‘Kiss The Mountain’ is very soothing, and Tuomas and Troy offer their calming backing tones to see the track out in a splendid hushed lullaby style. The gleeful and longest song featured, ‘Light And Flood’, is essentially an instrumental and features delightful piano work from Tuomas dancing along to Troy’s acoustic guitar in harmony with Johanna’s eloquent violin in this dynamic and majestic track.
‘It Takes Me Places’ is very cinematic and alluring, with rich melodies significantly aided by Tuomas’s keys. All three clearly revelling and perfectly complimenting the senses and sounds, while ‘The Long Walk’ is steeped in a more dark and haunting sound again like the opener and is very dramatic and tense towards the end whilst remaining compelling and irresistible.
The atmospheric and changeable ‘Scattered To The Four Winds’ is strikingly beautiful, from the dramatic percussion, passionate violins to the lavish keys and subtle yet elegant backing vocals to accompany Johanna’s ever pleasing and striking ones. The composition is truly masterful, and the trio delivers all their best elements bursting through in complete accordance with each other.
Troy takes the lead on vocals in the final song, ‘Fireside Bard’, a stripped-back off the beaten acoustic number before Johanna’s honeyed vocals join him. The track is a pleasing way to end and brings this magical journey to a simple yet effective end of their story with a nice touch of the crackling fire to close on, paying attention to every fine detail to achieve their craft.
‘Those We Don’t Speak Of’ is a pure delight to listen to and takes you on an enchanting journey, delving into a whimsical land of hope, creativity and adventure. The album is the perfect form of escapism, especially in a time full of chaos, misery and uncertainty. Auri’s music doesn’t need to be defined by a genre, just enjoyed for what it is, so transcend into a fairy tale soundscape with Auri and let your troubles melt away and reconnect with nature.
Check out our interview with Auri here to find out all about the new album: https://darkartconspiracy.com/2021/08/20/interview-auri-we-dont-know-why-audio-frequencies-make-us-feel-the-way-we-do-its-like-the-biggest-magic-trick-in-the-universe/
“Auri: II – Those We Don’t Speak Of” is out 3rd September 2021 via Nuclear Blast.