"Addiction" by Aaron Woodhouse
I last reviewed Aaron Woodhouse back in March when he released "Fire In The Air" as a single: now, he has followed it up with "Addiction" which is out today: a deeply thought provoking song based on own fifteen years of addiction & trying to turn his whole life around in the years since then.
Produced by Daniel Williams (who has previuously worked with Fernquest and Starvz), it certainly builds upon Aaron's very rapidly growing reputation (his is a name I keep on hearing talking to others part of the local music scene and the local media and one cropping up played on a variety of local radio stations) and his range of collaborations such as his Warwickshire County Council commissioned COVID9 themed track "Raise The Awareness" and others in the pipeline.
It's difficult to see any of Aaron's work as being separate from his own life, circumstances and beliefs: they clearly inform and drive his desire to communicate via music and give his tracks the emotional honesty which is what divides the best music from the self indulgent. That said, obviously "Addiction" is particularly personal for him and so can easily be seen as a culmination of what he has been building up to this far in his relatively short career to date. It's certainly his most powerful and hard hitting song thus far released and it's going to make listeners sit up and think about what he's telling us.
It's hard hitting for sure, but as with his earlier work, Aaron does not achieve success in getting his message across through aggression in his music: as I've said before he has a trademark melancholic style (to which you can add compassion and empathy for his subjects) and so his work, including "Addiction" is easy to understand and achieves its purpose (the excellent video which accompanies the single reinforces this really well). There is much sorrow as well as anger on display. The clarity of the arrangement and production too play important parts in the effectiveness of the communication.
I'm not sure precisely where Aaron will go next (though I'm looking forwards to finding out) as "Addiction" may be both his signature tune for stating who and where he is as well as the pinnacle of this early part of his career: possibly freeing him from the need to be autobiographical so much of the time and start factoring a range of other stories within the same humane perspective.
You can check the video for "Addiction" out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKxMsJsYdho
"Fire In The Air" by Aaron Woodhouse
A very recent addition to my awareness of the local music scene has been Aaron Woodhouse. I've been enjoying & appreciating his releases to date, including his Warwickshire County Council commissioned COVID9 centred track "Raise The Awareness" and the excellent single "Roadtrip".
Now the first real chance to write about him in the magazine has come along in the form of the equally high quality "Fire In The Air" single (and isn't it spooky how this is the third track from a local artist using the imagery of burning skies that I've reviewed in a very few weeks after Luke Concannon's "Coventry" and Ellie Gowers' "The Sky Is On Fire": clearly there is some sort of common vision, pretty apocalyptic in form going on).
In fact this particular song is much more to do with mental health more than the societal & ecological concerns of the other two songs: it's a metaphor which can cover a lot of ground. It's interesting too to encounter yet another Coventry & Warwickshire musician writing about this issue: we do seem to have a lot of writers sensitive to the problems & with the skills to articulate their thoughts on the matter.
Aaron is essentially a rapper in style and thankfully as he has built his own studio is able to produce new music through these difficult times. In fact a lot of his work is around mental ill health & he is confident enough to share with the world the autobiographical aspects of his writing: these are issues he knows only too well from his personal experience & as reinforced by his collaboration with the council, part of what he is about is a mission to share what he has learned & to reach out and make real impacts upon the community: which certainly commands my respect.
For a rapper he is quite melancholy in his songwriting (the subject matter of "Fire In The Air" certainly demands it) though the rhythm of his rapping is fairly rapid, it is cleverly set against a contrastingly very slow & solemn, keyboard led backing with emphatic but sparse percussion: this juxtaposition adds extra tension to the track to good effect. Given that the lyrics are basically about struggling, this is highly appropriate: he tells us how he is capable of both optimism & depression, how he needs constantly to fight to maintain hope & how despite looking for support, that is not always forthcoming. Though bleak in tone when dealing with such issues, ultimately as the title suggests, he is not ready to give up the fight.
It's good to have this fresh & uncompromising voice making music locally: another of the musicians we are so fortunate to have among us currently whose starting point is the truth as they see it & feel they should tell it.