Personally, one of the most enriching parts of music is not only the ability to blend styles, genres, and perspectives, but also languages and cultures. Quebec City’s Aurian Haller Band hails from a unique place geographically, making it only natural for them to blend French and Canadian music, customs, and language. One need only take a brief glance down the track list on their newest album, House of Words, to feel the influence of both sides. There’s no denying it; Haller and his band are a new breed of indie folk musicians.
The haunting, Neil Young-ish opener, “Wolf at the Door” is underscored with a mournful pedal steel undertone, but the album revs up the funk on its title track. “Les orphelins,” the first bilingual track of the set, conjures French pop in the vein of Jacques Dutronc. Meanwhile, bookending the meat of the album, “Sister Moon” and “River Flow” come together as a pair of sibling tracks — not twins. Together, they give the entire collection a sense of equilibrium, and underscore Haller’s folk-indie cred. The next few tracks trickle on, until “Faconne abandonne,” a strong finisher, curiously followed by “Tripwire,” a strange, spoken-word addition tacked on for good measure. Perhaps it would have functioned better as a hidden track, but, as they say, c’est la vie.
Overall, House of Words is a solid offering from a folkie who obviously knows what he’s doing, channeling people like Nick Drake and Leonard Cohen and spinning it for a new generation. If he continues along the same path on which this album has set him, Haller will undoubtedly become a force to be reckoned with — geography be damned.