Get ready to spark a fat one, sit back and relax, because I’ve got a tasty little EP by Berlin artist Aris Wolfe that will put you in just the right mood to forget about all the bovine excrement happening right now. How We Roar, out independently since February 1st, 2020, is an imperfect but captivating 15 minutes of jazz-infused indie rock that left me wanting more.
It’s hard to draw comparisons because of the strange, interesting mix singer-guitarist Aris uses. Infusing rock music with elements of jazz and funk is a feat in itself. The mixture is compelling, though occasionally unrefined. The closest I came is the chill-yet-partyful vibes of Mac Miller, but distant cousins also include alt-rock era Radiohead and Beck.
Opening track “How We Roar” kicks things off with a refreshingly front-seat bass line backing a chill, jazzy chord structure and playful keyboard lead. I dug the bass playing throughout this entire EP. It remains playful while holding down the groove, and sometimes even steps into an almost leading role.
Aris’ playing and singing are nothing fancy, but they seem to do the trick just right, lending the right blasé attitude and laid-back vibes that these four tracks are screaming for.
The title track is matched in style, pacing and feel by the other three tracks. In “Hunted,” (a slower number) we get a better glimpse of Aris’ picking skills, and the band continues on a jazz-infused chill session. Penultimate track “Rose Coloured” paints a longing picture of lopsided love in the seemingly appropriate 3/4 time signature. Finally, the funk returns with a blazing bass part in the spacey, yet nervous closing track “Midnight Raspeberry.”
This album is proof you don’t have to do anything fancy to get it right. Nail the basics – feeling, intention, concept and pacing – and the rest will seem less important to your listener. Of course, Aris Wolfe goes a step further by offering a nicely polished end product that, while imperfect, still beckons for another listen. Well done!
Written by Henri Brillon
*Edited by Dominic Abate