Aaron's fourth solo album features guest vocals from Elle Pucket (Eisley, Poema), Stephanie Skipper, Sherri Dupree-Bemis (Eisley) and Max Bemis (Say Anything) and will be release on limited edition colored Vinyl & Digital.
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Invincible (feat. Elle Puckett)
Real Life (feat. Sherri Dupree-Bemis & Max Bemis)
Someday (feat. Matty Mullins)
I Don't Know Who You Are (feat. Stephanie Skipper)
A Successful Departure| Posted May 23, 2017
Aaron Sprinkle is a name that needs no introduction in the Christian music scene, or even in the music scene as a whole. From his early days as a Christian rock pioneer with his bands Poor Old Lu and Rose Blossom Punch to his solo releases and albums with his band Fair, he has covered more sonic territory than most artists dream of. Pair this with his resume as a producer for dozens of well known acts (Anberlin, TFK, Copeland, Acceptance and The Almost to name a few), and you have a name that instantly turns heads. Real Life is Aaron's newest solo installment, and though it treads new territory in many ways, everything that makes Sprinkle good is still present.
First things first: Real Life is different than anything Aaron Sprinkle has ever done before. Though his previous exceptional album Water And Guns can in retrospect be seen as a bridge between the acoustic guitar-driven 2004 album Lackluster and this new LP, Real Life eschews overdriven guitars and rock drums for synth lines, loops, drum machines and all manner of glorious electronic implements.
The first track "Invincible" lets us know right away that the landscape has changed, featuring an intro full of electronic hand-claps and drum sounds along with a pulsing, synth-driven chorus. It also features ethereal backing vocals from Elle Puckett to complete the picture. "Washed Up" is the first standout of the album, a classic Sprinkle song but with loops and programed drum sounds front and center instead of standard rock instrumentation. One of the more catchy choruses anchors "Never Alone," and classic electronic auto tune hints even more at the direction the album is taking.
Title track "Real Life" is next, and it's another classic Sprinkle cut. You can almost hear the pounding half time drums and guitars on the chorus, but the space is filled instead with perfect guest vocals from husband and wife duo Sheri DuPree and Max Bemis alongside a catchy synth hook. It's the first glimpse of the rock vocals that Aaron is known for, as he belts out the bridge lyrics.
"Not Listening" contains some of the best lines on the album as Sprinkle explores the idea of leaving our past behind on a daily basis. Lyrics like "There's an ocean in this room / and I'm the anchor tied to you" and "If the hope is lost and hate begins to win / I'm not listening" illustrate the daily battle between our past our present. "Someday" features more vintage and honest Aaron Sprinkle lyrics wrapped around a textbook pop song, warbling auto-tune chorus, while LP standout "Steady" has one of the best lines on the album: "you know I tried to keep it on the level / a tempo change would just bring trouble / so steady, steady my heartbeat."
By now it is becoming apparent to the listener that the starkly different instrumentation of Real Life will last the course of the album, and the theme continues on "I Don't Know" with a beautifully haunting guest appearance from Stephanie Skipper (currently of the duo Copperlilly). "Step Here" contains one of the best instrumental hooks of the record and a delightfully 80s-instrumental breakdown partway through. Final track "Wander" is stripped down instrumentally, but Sprinkle's voice and his appropriately wandering lyrics are front and center with a chorus that features his voice on several different octaves.
With Real Life, Aaron Sprinkle has succeeded in creating something different than he has ever created before without forsaking what makes him who he is. Musically, it explores new space while putting the focus on the strong and meaningful lyrics that have always been the foundation for Sprinkle's work, no matter the configuration of the band or the style of the songs. Real Life is certainly worth a listen for any fan of his past work, and for anyone who appreciates his writing style, they will find plenty to like. Though the instrumentation and execution is markedly different from anything else he has ever done, it's a bold and artistic choice that puts Aaron Sprinkle's talent as a songwriter and singer front and center.
The Bottom Line: Though it is a departure from Aaron Sprinkle's tried and true sound, Real Life is a record full of meaningful lyrics and catchy synth-pop songs.
Song to Download Now:
"Steady" (Get it on iTunes here.)