Aurora’s The Gods We Can Touch (2022)
by Dora Grabar
Aurora’s new album, The Gods We Can Touch, is an 80s-influenced 15-track record with the synth dominating the songs almost as much as her voice. It’s got the feeling of a concept album, using melodies and beats from the 80s to contrast Aurora’s deeply haunting vocalisations, leaning heavily into the album’s title and remaining focused on that feeling throughout its entirety.
The opening track, ‘The Forbidden Fruits Of Eden’, is a short one and lets Aurora’s gentle but unsettling voice create a base for the rest of the album. By the time it comes to the final song—an equally unsettling piece called, ‘A Little Place Called The Moon’—Aurora has taken the listener on a journey with, and of, the gods, with some songs accomplishing that better than others. ‘Artemis’ is where the combination of the 80s and Aurora’s signature style combine the best, creating a villain-esque melody while still being enjoyable and catchy. This is exactly where ‘This Could Be A Dream’ fails, as its repetitiveness and similarity to the songs that precede makes it feel almost like a space-filler.
My personal favourite is ‘Heathens’, wherein Aurora tells the story of Eve giving humanity its freedom by biting the apple. Aside from the lyrics, the song itself begins stripped down with a heavy focus on Aurora’s vocal abilities, which are her strongest point. ‘Heathens’ gradually shifts from its simplicity to a complex set of melodies and harmonies, incorporating all that is good about the album into one song, with a final twist in the melody at the very end.
The inspiration taken from the 80s overtakes Aurora’s raw talent in some songs, but the album’s consistency in telling the mythological stories through melodies pulls it together. It’s an easy listen that has more to offer if you’re willing to interpret the lyrics and dissect the melodies, but it’s not Aurora’s best work.