Released just over a month ago, the self-titled debut EP from Chicago’s Ariada recently found its way into my inbox, and I’m very glad that it did. What struck me immediately about this album was how closely each of the EP’s five tracks resembles something that you might hear as the soundtrack to a musical.
Though undeniably strong when taken individually, each track sounds as though it’s part of something greater, and it becomes hard to not close your eyes and fill in the visuals of each scene.
The EP opens with “Keep it Together”, which may just be the album’s most commercially accessible track with vocalist and songwriter Lesleigh Arratia flexing her vocal talents right out of the gate. The light and poppy verses are punctuated with the horn section, and a few short guitar solos that hit just in time to remind you that you are still listening to a rock band.
“Blue & White Dress” strengthens my “musical argument” with some memorable gang vocals and a theatrical vocal hook. The track is driven by a really tight groove from drummer Michael Tassone. “Running in Twos” shifts gears significantly with staccato horns and a ’70s inspired synth line. This song has a great “roller rink” vibe and if that sounds strange, you obviously haven’t heard the track yet.
From there, the EP takes another shift with the slightly darker, “What Mama Told Me”. The haunting track evokes the feeling of a smokey jazz club and shows off a bit more of Arratia’s range and the band’s instrumentation with some well-placed solos.
The EP ends with “Rescue Me”, a sweeping track that builds all the way through its five minute run time as closes the album with all of the power that opens it. At the end of the day, this is just a well-written, well-performed, and well-produced EP. I would highly recommend giving it a listen, and keeping your eyes on Ariada going forward.