Album review: The Royal Oui

Alexis Stockford, Contributor Ω

Image courtesy File Under: Music

Image courtesy File Under: Music

Even before teaming up, singer/songwriters Ari Shine and Adrienne Pierce both had thriving careers.  Shine previously worked with the Foo Fighters’ Chris Shiflett, while Pierce has toured with artists like Damien Rice and has had her work featured on the hit TV show Grey’s Anatomy.

Now, the Vancouver-based couple has joined forces to release their debut album, The Royal Oui, earlier this month.  The album’s pretty much exactly what you’d expect from accomplished artists like Shine and Pierce, delivering easy-listening rhythms mixed with haunting harmonies and quietly profound lyrics.

Shine was co-winner of the John Lennon Song of the Year Award in 2006, which is appropriate given the retro feel underlying most of The Royal Oui tracks. The fourth track, “Dirty Snow,” features a somewhat repetitive vocal harmony, backed up by articulated guitar runs and a strongly chorded entry into the chorus reminiscent of early rock bands like The Beatles.

In places, the album brings to mind nothing more than the image of a sea of lighters, swaying gently to the music.  Meanwhile, tracks like the heartfelt acoustic number “True,” mix in a bit of country twang.  The result is an emotional, crooning style of folk music.

The album has a strong organization, tying each track into a larger story.  With the exception of “Dirty Snow,” which was inspired by hurricane Sandy in 2012, The Royal Oui brings the listener through all the intricacies of falling in and out of love.  From the initial attraction in the album’s first track, “Siren Song,” to the deeper realities of making a relationship work in “Don’t You Think That I,” and “The Real Thing,” to the eventual break up in “Montauk (This Is The End),” Pierce and Shine convey the realities of a relationship.

If I had to choose a word to describe this album, it would be “soothing.” This is not an album meant for energetic parties. Chances are, no one’s going to be putting these songs on their workout playlist.  Instead, this album will appeal to people looking for a quiet, calming music experience.  This is music you play to help relax after a hard day, put on while you study or curl up with a good book and a cup of tea.