On his ninth album (not including those which have been tour merchandise) Kelley Stoltz keeps things pretty understated for most of the 11 tracks. None of the sunshiny exuberance of ‘Kimchi Taco Man’ this time around.
Which makes for pleasant enough listening but, having been used to greater expenditure of energy, ringing guitars, psychedelia in greater doses and catchy hooks over the course of Double Exposure and In Triangle Time & EPs etc. during the past four years, there’s a lack of any really exciting elements this time around; despite the playfulness of opening track ‘I’m Here For Now’.
‘For You’, track number eight, injects urgency and pace into the album’s course and rocks along nicely (if a tad moronically) but overall you’re not going to find yourself dancing around much to Que Aura but there may be enough to still put a smile on your face, which is generally the other by-product of a Kelley Stoltz release I find.
It’s an age since I’ve played any of Stoltz’s earlier albums but it’s probably fair to say that stylistically Que Aura sees him reverting to what he was producing around the time of To Dreamers and his other releases on Sub Pop. The press release for this album cites Fleetwood Mac, Pulp and Echo And The Bunnymen as musical touchstones for the work and in a general sense those are all pretty fair points of reference. ‘Tranquillo’ certainly resembles some of Jarvis Cocker’s more louche compositions.
Melancholia gets a look in on the proceedings too as after the pleasant but forgettable ‘Get Over’ comes the downbeat ‘Feather Falling’, giving you the distinct feeling that all was not well at some point during the album writing process. Thankfully the mood is lifted somewhat by the following, psych-infused power pop of ‘No Pepper For The Dustman’. Which sets the pattern for the remainder of the album – understatement in all things, moods going up and down but never to extremes in either direction.