XO SKELETON by La Force album review by Adam Fink for Northern Transmissions The full-length is now out via Secret City Records



La Force

As the seasons change into autumn and the days are getting shorter, and more importantly the nights get longer, we find the things we desire in ourselves starting to shift as well. Away from the pop fuelled frenzy of the sunshine and looking for something deeper within ourselves. Cue La Force and you’ll have found the soundtrack for what you need during this time.

Ariel Engle AKA La Force is someone you may not know but has probably been involved with many records you enjoy. Engle has appeared on albums from artists like Stars, Plants and Animals, Martha Wainwright as well as being a member of Broken Social Scene but it’s in her own project where we get to enjoy Engle’s talents up close and personal. La Force’s new album XO SKELETON, out September 22nd via Secret City Records, is hauntingly beautiful. An R&B tinged pop album that embraces its darkness and showcases Engle’s gifts as a singer, songwriter and producer front and centre.

The album moves slowly and deliberately. If you are looking for a “vibe”, XO SKELETON has it in spades. The record isn’t just a genre exercise though. Engle is such an evocative singer that she imbues these songs with a gravitas that belies their fragility. “condition of us” kicks right off with such a hook laden vocal melody that it should immediately capture your attention while the bass and guitar wander through the song’s arrangement. Engle has such a confident melodic sensibility that even when the song’s tracks seem to move at a glacial pace, her vocals transcend everything that is happening around them. “empty sympathy” sneaks up on you lyrically while you are appreciating the drum groove and muted guitars. When Engle sings, “I don’t want to be/a reflection or a remake/a mirror for your mistakes/the thought that sets you free”, and it’s heartbreaking. Album namesake “xo skeleton” moves a little quicker than the other album’s tracks, perhaps harkening back to the time when Engle conceptualized the record as a dance album. The real star here though continues to be Engle’s superb vocal melodies and performance.

The shorter days and longer nights are here and XO SKELETON is the perfect companion for this time of year. Ariel Engle is a talent to be appreciated on her own, not just as a member of another project and hopefully with La Force she’ll have found her audience.

Pre-order XO SKELETON by La Force HERE


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