Published Sep 04, 2018Ariel Engle has come into her own as a singer and songwriter with La Force. The project was born out of her previous collaboration with husband Andrew Whiteman, AroarA, and recorded at the same time as Broken Social Scene's Hug of Thunder came together — an album that saw her cement her power as a vocalist and lyricist within the collective.
La Force captures Engle's singular energy, as she mines grief while simultaneously reflecting on all that she has to be grateful for. Sonically, the album features drone, rhythm-driven tracks and the full range of Engle's voice. Tension and melody juxtapose against each other on "TBT," its rhythm only breaking down to allow for the fullness of her voice to centre in the music.
Minimal, warm arrangements suit Engle's voice as much as lush and full ones do. "Lucky One" exudes beauty, as she reminds herself: "Heart, be calm, be calm about it all / 'Cause we used to get obsessed," effortless guitar joining her in melody. "Mama Papa" floats, slowly growing from its first quiet lines to beautiful saxophone accompaniment. Engle states her fears, gaining strength through this exercise in vulnerability.
Elsewhere on the record, "Upside Down Wolf" feels like a manifesto, as Engle calls serenely, "I'm not calm and I don't have patience / I have admiration for love, charity and kindness." Her voice weaves between bass, beats and atmospherics that recall early Broken Social Scene, while still standing apart from it. Throughout the record, one can feel the confidence in Engle's voice and conviction in her words. "You Amaze Me" perfectly encapsulates her devotion, as well as her ability to express it in all its depth.
Within the dense nine tracks of La Force, Engle is vulnerable while seeing beyond herself — "I don't have to know, I feel." The birth of La Force proves Engle as an artist deeply in tune with her emotional landscape, one who is able to connect with listeners to their very core. (Arts & Crafts)