The Aurian Haller Band might hail from Quebec, but the music found on House of Words is full of American sounds: Jazz, Americana, Alt-Country and Folk. Like Neil Young and (most members of) The Band, Haller’s takes most of his inspiration from the land below him. There at times when he references his homeland, by singing in French, but that seems more like a nod to fellow Canadian Leonard Cohen than anything else.
On paper, the different sounds found on House of Words might seem like they’d be out of place together. But Haller makes sure that House of Words blends all of these sounds together seamlessly. In part, it might be the dense production that gives a feeling of Autumn some of House of Words its focus or declaration of intent. Its stripped down enough so that every instrument can be heard perfectly, but also dense enough to give the songs a melancholic mood.
Together with Haller’s craft at the forefront, the Jazz-inspired “Sister Moon” sits comfortably next to the Alt-Country vibe of “And Still”. Strange as it may seem, the guitar solo found on “And Still” feels just as organic as the sliding piano, soft bass and harmonica that is the backbone of “Sister Moon”. “Do Me a Favour” might be the set’s most rollicking number, but the song’s harmonies and organ make it clear, that it’s really just a country-song in disguise.
There’s an easy rhythm to be found here, and as tightly constructed as the songs are, Haller still gives the songs plenty of room to breathe and live. Even when songs of the songs break free for several bars, it’s never aimless. The overall effect just heightens the mood and atmosphere.
House of Words is probably best listened to on a cool evening with a neat glass of whiskey in hand. The individual songs sound good, but together as a piece House of Words is a rare breed in the digital era: a fully realized album.
Check out the video for “L’Amoure et Ses Couteaux” below: