Audra

Picture of Audra

Audra

Audra - Audra ©2000 Projekt
1. In All Our Androgyny
2. Venus
3. Don't Whisper My Name In The Dark
4. Spiked With Black And Rum
5. What Your Eyes Had Seen
6. You're So Pretty
7. In Hollywood Tonight
8. Flowers
9. 2 Girls In 1 Dress
10. Nervous
11. Cupid
12. The Dancing Images

Rising out of Arizona like a black-clad phoenix, Audra's self titled debut for Projekt Records should have plenty of potential to lure an entire legion of pasty-faced, moody and brooding goth kids. Nevermind the fact that the duo comes from the Valley of the Sun. Audra actually comes across to me as a more upbeat version of Lycia, though using a more familiar rock concept than the lush and cavernous sound of the sadly defunct Lycia. Vocally, Bret Helm is very close to the Lycia sound, though better enunciated and without all that wretched whispering. Audra also has a good sense of building up lush arrangements, utilizing a lot of guitar parts as well as a fairly subliminal but haunting keyboard underscore. With many notes being allowed to ring out on slower numbers and the upbeat and quite invigorating tempos of the fast numbers, Audra also is able to put together an album that has a good amount of variety, fending off the sameness too many artists these days display in their music. Occasionally Audra comes across a bit too brooding on their slower numbers, such as "You're So Pretty", which causes a reaction in me that is akin to slapping someone upside the head and suggesting they "get over it". Other songs, such as "Flowers", seem to be lacking a bit of the lush and blossomed ideas of other tracks. This suggests that the duo still hasn't fully flexed their songwriting growth. But there are enough strong songs here to give the goth rock fan some tasty morsels to chew on. Audra may not have a huge crossover appeal into a more cheerful crowd, but as with many debuts, there is more than enough to suggest a rosy future for the band.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 08/2000

Back to top 

Going To The Theatre

Audra - Going To The Theatre ©2002 Projekt
1. Midnight Moon Swing
2. There Are No Snakes In Heaven
3. Going To The Theatre
4. All Ghosts Spend Their Time Alone
5. In A Dark Room
6. Face Go Red
7. A Walk In The Woods
8. Fearless "Peaches"
9. Cabaret Fortune Teller
10. Don't End This Time

For their second album on Projekt, brothers Bart and Bret Helm put together an authentic 80s sounding goth album. While I certainly bear no malice towards this act and can see their appeal to fans of the intended style, neither this nor their self titled debut have really overwhelmed me to any degree. I probably will just place the blame on the somewhat dated sounding drum programming sound, as a machine's feelings can't be hurt. And no one wants to willingly hurt a goth's feeling. They'll write sad poetry about it and then read it to you.

Going to the Theatre seems to have a bit more of an edge than the first album. In fact, the first song, "Midnight Moon Swing" has plenty of distorted guitar and cute gothic angst. The album alternates between harder edged songs and the more standard brooding numbers. Singer Bret Helm has a voice that will remind many of classic goth singers, such as Peter Murphy, perhaps. If nothing else, Bret has the voice that is perfect for this style of music and will lend a considerable amount of credibility in that regard. The songwriting is reasonably strong and stays true to their influences. In fact, fans of old Bauhaus, Joy Division and even Sisters of Mercy will hear things that will warm the cockles of their black little hearts.

Overall, I can see appeal in Audra if you lean towards fanatical worship of their influences. Two albums in and I'm still perhaps too cheerful and wearing too many light colored articles of clothing to really get into what Audra does. Recommended for fans of the genre, but don't expect too much crossover into They Might Be Giants territory.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 02/2004

Back to top