REVIEW: Aloud’s “Sprezzatura” is Chiming Guitar Excitement and Absorbing Vocal Diversity


Aloud – Sprezzatura

What attracted me to this 11-track power-infused recording is the similarities of lead vocalist Jen de la Osa’s spirited tone to female blues-belters as Karen Lawrence (1994, Blue By Nature), Genya Ravan (Ten Wheel Drive), Tracy Nelson (Mother Earth), & Leigh Matty (Romeo’s Daughter). The dual male/female vocal creates an absorbing diversity at the heart of LA’s Aloud.

Perhaps Jen never heard these female singers but she’s in their arena. If she doesn’t lose her bluesy circuitry, she’ll thrive better than an energetic siren. (Note I didn’t say, diva). Jen is impressive & many of the songs are well-arranged horn-driven soulful bits mindful of an era that had firmly cemented a horn-driven bluesy genre.

“Love Is a Beautiful Thing,” possesses ’70s dynamics of soulful bands that kicked proverbial ass when fronted by a female with lungs.

“Waiting (Scenes from a Lonely Planet),” showcases guitarist/mellotron Henry Beguiristain vocals with Jen’s (guitar/piano) vocal interaction. The plate is full of dual vocal pulsations & with “Hungry Land,” constructed like a brick house. A contagious nitrous fueled mix out of the gate.

Jen can sparkle on milder fair. “Lovers of the Last Resort,” has vocalizing borrowed from the likes of legendary jazz scat singer Anita O’Day (“Jazz on a Summer’s Day,” performance). Jen’s vocalizing seems to have a wide stylization berth.

“Salvage Yard,” is more guitar-laden & loaded with conservative electrifying notes. Nothing overdone, bombastic, or wasted. Just well-maintained chiming guitar excitement.

The 11-track LP recorded in Boston, MA — Sprezzatura, (drops May 8 – Lemon Merchant Records).

Henry & Jen are joined by Charles Murphy (bass & bv), Chuck Ferreira (drums/percussion) with Alanah Ntzouras (saxophone) & trumpet (Vanessa Acosta). Quite a cohesive unit. 7, Sprezzatura is uniquely Italian. From a 1528 book about nonchalance, defined as almost without any thought at all, a studied carelessness, characteristic of a style in art or literature.

Probably the weakest link comes on “In Spite of Language,” where the blues edge is lost for a more middle-of-the-road approach. A slight misstep.

This band is like a greyhound, it wants to run. It’s not a lap dog. This song has sha-la-las in it & is best avoided especially after sampling the gasoline ignition of the earlier masterpieces. Jen’s effective vocals work on slower tunes such as the much better suited “Renters for Life,” (may even be the best track on the LP). Here it works because she has room to move with her fine tone. Vanessa Acosta’s trumpet decorates it all. Chuck’s drums — simple but electrifying over the vocals. The upbeat “Oh Danny,” is an excursion ala Grace Slick (Jefferson Airplane/Starship) with Jen at full throttle.

Even the final song “Been So Long Since We’ve Seen the Sun,” is a fine Henry tune & it’s a moist slice of cheesecake that Jen punctuates with cherries over the top. The band seldom runs out of gas & is a band to keep an eye on.

Produced by Benny Grotto & Aloud the CD is available at their website.


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