Klef Notes

Music Reviews

Miranda Arieh “Ferine"

Ever since my ears and the music of Miranda Arieh became acquainted with each other in July of 2018, never have the three of us parted.  This artist’s music has continued to weave a kaleidoscopic relationship in my musical repertoire.  Many a day, one of these songs play in my background setting the mood.  That is what happens when true artistry connects with a journalist or fans, the music quickly becomes a soundtrack. 

Arieh is just that type of a singer/songwriter who carves a trail that people follow because she invites us to do so with her lyrics, music, and passion.  We see ourselves in her and we hear our stories in her music.  Never one to position herself within trends that garner fake fans or friends via social media, or sacrificing the music for likes on social media, Arieh is laying the groundwork for a career that lasts years not seconds.  

Hailing from Leeds, UK, Arieh is putting the world of music on the opposite side of its axis.  Being non-normal when it comes to music and entertainment, Arieh is flipping the script on boring artist fashion while creating an open dialogue with her words and music.  Finally an artist who is revolutionary, exciting, and addicting. 

Her latest album is entitled “Ferine” and includes nine tracks that feature a well-blended collection of Alternative music with elements of Glam Rock, EDM, Pop Rock, R&B, and Chamber music – which makes for an inviting listen.  

Track list: 

  1. Hold On
  2. Impossible
  3. Soul Price
  4. Viva Vivacity
  5. Capture
  6. The Silencer
  7. Well You
  8. The End
  9. How Does It Feel?

I will focus on the six chartbusters within this review.  

I start with a song that starts like a music box has just been unlocked and ends like a full-on concert in Spanish Harlem – “Hold On.” 

Hold On” is a Dance-Pop track set to a Bossa Nova beat that pleasantly surprises its listeners.  The narrative lyrically explains how one should be unbreakable.  Arieh sings:  Hold on ‘til the dark of the day.  I never said it was easy or anything like that I never said that I’d want you if you give me your land. Hold on, keep it down - don’t keep it up, I never said I was leaving, or anything like that.  So hold on ‘til the morning ‘til I made up my mind; The changing plans are un-weaving and it makes me un-easy.  These lyrics clearly define how when it is dark, it is dark, and when it is light, it is light, but regardless of the mood or circumstance, if anything is worth fighting for, “hold on.”  Arieh’s choice to have her vocal naturally bottomless is very provoking.  This song will definitely make you think and keep you moving.

The second track, “Impossible” is a great illustration of how Arieh has spun a twist on monotony and have created music that is unique, unusual, and strikingly adaptable.  She has the chops to blend the Avant Garde with normalcy and be able to do it with panache, difference, and appeal.  

Impossible” exemplifies her candor and creativity by being a tasty bit of Chamber Pop combining both complex instrumental textures with broad-ranging simplistic melodies and a strong vocal.  The up-tempo command to the beat infused track speaks about building new bridges in life instead of revisiting old burnt bridges of the past – enjoying life in the present with no regrets.  The lyrics sing, “Impossible to right my wrongs so I settle down in an old sweet song oh Impossible from dusk ‘til dawn Now I seen the sky turn red.”  This song is fully loaded and charged with hypnotic synths, keys, flutes, strings, and layered percussions.   Featuring an electric harpsichord on this track is nothing short of BRILLIANT adding to the full scope of living a larger than life way of life.

Stomping in on steel platform boots isCapture an emotionally strong track that Arieh vocally evokes with force.  “Capture” is about being restrained within love.  This song fully illustrates how one can be held prisoner without shackles or bars just by being voiceless, emotionless, and held down by placing the satisfaction of another’s needs above your own and how breaking free is possible.  Arieh sings:  I thought I heard you say to me “Make sure you don’t talk out loud.” So I kept quiet, in the hope that some broad change was bound to come. And I was let down, when I found out you were just riding on my back all the way down.  It would make sense to let the world seep in my ears. And I’m listening to something- but I chose to be a liar. And nobody owns me. So I’ll set fire to this fire- makes me feel good.  Arieh showcases the energy of the song’s storyline with strong, stirring, deep, vocal endings and unrestrained passion.  You get to hear the air in her voice and the quiver in her tone that spells REALITY!  What a great addition with the military rhythmic percussions that play well with the piano, violins, and bass all alluding to the image of a war-torn relationship.

The most beautiful track of the collection is “The Silencer.”  Both interesting and compelling, the pace of this track is a bit apprehensive and appealing at the same time.  Very moody in its approach, the way that Arieh lays her vocals subtly and keeps the pace with the aggressive arrangement is perfect.  The melody itself is infectious, but what takes this track over the top is Arieh’s tone and vocal prowess.  Moreover, her vocal manipulation adds character and lyrical images of circumstance that we may have lived through.  Read the candid lyrics:  I heard one time The Silencer moved on. To get away before day breaks. I hurry on ‘Til you become the things you hate. Forbidden words Familiar taste.  And in the evening I will say no more. And I ain’t meaning to focus all my being on what’s gone before. So in the evening I will say no more. I looked up and I saw that it was gone I turned around and realised I was alone. See now and I am all those things I hate And I kneel alone before it gets late I spoke some words with honest tongue but not one was true We’re freakin’ out - just gather round and I’ll see you through. When what you do gets done to you Tell me, how’s that working out for you?  This mid-tempo ballad sits neatly between Rock and New Wave and tells the story of silent pain and abuse – it’s the unsaid put to music.  Love it!

The End” is a song about placing a period on something that no longer needs attention in our lives and finding the strength and power to move on.  The lyrics suggests this theme very well:  When luck was down and talk was cheap. We took it out in to the streets With sodden hands And rotten meat. When life was young and love was sweet When all the sirens had become. The End You took it down remember when? The End With gutter mouth and sodden hands The End It's over now. What's done is done I sent you stormin' to the sun. I close my eyes and count to ten What's done is done but remember when?  This Alternative track surgically fuses EDM with Chamber Pop and it works so well!  

The mood of the total melody is melancholy but it is bursting with passion and subtle attitude.  The music arrangement features synths that modulate and bow down marrying to a Prince-esque command to the beat.  Vocally, Arieh chose to add low-wandering backing vocals to lighter adlibs making for a memorable hook, while in the verses, she begins her leads crawling into the melody and then ends the verses by vocally standing up.  The overall emotional vocal delivery of “The End” is scientifically beautiful as it is kind of timid but serious which is so infectious and ballad-worthy bold.   

And, it is so fashionably modern to close the album with an EDM/Pop track.  “How Does It Feel?captures the very essence of how it feels to be the victim and how others haven’t a clue until they are placed inside of that frame of mind.  The lyrics highlight this analyzation:  Some days I sit and wait for the chance to rear its head. Now I’m told you make your own chances But that pressure renders me dead I gotta write that road instead. And I hope one day you’ll realise who tests the time that so boldly soars. The time that they say is running out, you’re just running into And it’s yours. How does it feel when your mind is not your own And how does it feel when your words mean nothing. Please tell me something I didn’t know Crates down the afternoon, this feeling’s bound to pass. Set it down and set it through or this memory will last I hope this memory don’t last.  The music is built around a full bassline and is very synthesized-based which is so NOW!  But, the jewel of this song rests on every instrument and vocal treatment blending perfectly to declare the song’s lyrical topic.  Writing something stark and original is so Miranda Arieh.

After living with the music, and listening to the stories, it is no secret that the music on “Ferine” is what its title suggests – it is untamed, rare, spellbinding music that cannot be domesticated into the boring music that is playing on Top 40 radio today.  “Ferine” captures your wild side and either makes is docile when it suits that emotion, or it throws caution to the wind and sets it all ablaze.  Whatever the emotion, this album will alter your base. 

As an artist, Miranda Arieh is aware of true showmanship, but she does not allow that to outshine HER story.  She does not eliminate the human component in her songwriting.  Similar to David Bowie, Freddie Mercury, Cyndi Lauper, and Annie Lennox, Arieh notoriously keeps a creative wardrobe, makeup, and stage to showcase her elaborate creativity to better prepare her fans to really see her illustrate her lyrics and story, but she does not depend on the art to define the artist. 

Her voice is spot on theater-level amazement being pliable and flamboyant but not brash. 

The music set to this vivid enigmatic collection of stories is brought to life by these key players:  Coner Lawrence (Drums), Aid Todd (Drums/Bass), Alice Nicholls (Keys/Strings), Richard Ormrod (Horns/Accordion), Joe Haig (Trumpet), Stefan Skrimsehire (Cello), Dariush Kanani (Acoustic Guitar),  and Kate Riley & Lisa Gillingham (Backing Vocals). 

I’ve said it before, and I will continue to say it, Arieh is the reinvention of normal music and she has the artistry to make it happen by not being afraid to experiment while liberating.  That’s why she still reigns as the Avant Garde Queen of Indie Music! 

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