Aarythmers Album "Cardiac" Review and Interview
Updated: Jul 12
Aarythmers is a band that showcases songwriters and musicians in New Orleans playing songs written by Guy Wall. Guy played guitar in various rock bands in the 1970s and 1980s, during which time he obtained a law degree. He stopped playing in the late 1980s to raise his children with his wife Lisa and build his law practice. Guy is returning to the music scene as the lead singer and songwriter of the album Cardiac with a 14 song set of interesting songs that I would loosely call Americana. The record clocks in at just under an hour and runs the gamut through several styles that seem to be born from a strong Beatles influence and moving forward into Elvis Costello and R.E.M like pop songs. The album starts with a track titled Thinking of Her that reminds me of early 80s alt pop bands that were clearly influenced by The Beatles in terms of composition and hooks, but still pushing the ball forward into new and fresh ground for the ears of the next generation. The intro is musically reminiscent of the first few hits from The Cars. The vocal comes in taking it to its own unique place and the backing vocals have a strong mid 60's feel to them, even flirting with a Buddy Holly like delivery at times making for quite a unique combination of styles. WTF is another track with a strong late 50's early 60's influence with something that I can't quite put my finger on that keeps it strangely fresh and modern. It's a delightful duet with Emma Moates about the differences between a couple that wants to fall in love, but has many differences that they choose to celebrate as opposed to dwelling on. A song that seems to be about the mindset within a relationship will define the success of it. A standout track penned by Guy Wall and beautifully sung by Emma Moates is Love Forever. Again, feeling rooted in yesteryear but somehow strangely modern. The guitar line through the song feels like it is right out of a Doo Wop band with tasteful fills. It is giving the sense of a player that has listened to surf guitar players. It's not quite committed to surf, but the undercurrent of it is evident. The presence of that style dates it in a wonderful, simple and effective manner. Done With Love reminds me of the pop side of The Kinks from the early 80's. It is a catchy song that has the drums a bit more upfront in the mix than the bulk of the album. As a big fan of that era of The Kinks and particularly their hit Come Dancing, I am also a fan of this song. It has a wonderful pushy bounce that seems to be single handedly provided by a determined kick drum pattern. The chorus is very catchy with jangly guitars throughout. The back end of the album definitely moves more toward rock and roll, which makes for an interesting listen. I suspect a good deal of thought went into the track order to keep the listener engaged as it evolves over the hour. The last five tracks, Friends, Better, I Was Wrong, Upside Down and Miss Right Now feel like a triumphant third act that wraps the production up. Cardiac is a diverse album that runs seamlessly from Buddy Holly to 80's college rock. In a world that supports over 50,000 songs a day being uploaded to Spotify it is quite difficult to stand out as anything different from the sea of artists producing music. This band managed to produce a record that is unique. If you are looking for a different spin of the same 12 notes that every band west of Moscow is using you may want to check this album out. It is its simplicity that makes it most appealing. They somehow twist it into something that is derivative of so many great artists but doesn't really sound like any of them.
Check out the interview with Guy Wall...
Tell us the brief history of your band or musical career.
Guy Wall, an attorney, created the band, Aarythmers, as a nom de plume to release his original songs. Guy and his friend and professional guitar player, Vince Marini, interviewed and auditioned bass players and drummers to fill out the band for the latest album, Cardiac.
Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
Musical influences are the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Sex Pistols, Elvis Costello, the New Pornographers, and Johann Sebastian Bach.
What album has had the greatest impact on your life as a musician?
Abbey Road by the Beatles.
Is there a particular song that has resonated with you for a long time?
The Long and Winding Road by the Beatles.
What’s your favorite accomplishment as a musician thus far?
The release of Cardiac.
What's the best piece of advice another musician ever gave you?
If I miss one day of practice, I notice it. If I miss two days of practice, the band notices it. If I miss three days of practice, the audience notices it.
What's new in the recording of your music?
With Cardiac, the new album, I recorded my rock and pop songs. We emphasized vocal harmonies. The songs were inspired by archetypes of various rock subsets.
How has your music changed over the years?
My songwriting has evolved from being primarily diatonic and three chord based in the 1970s and 1980s to employing a wider variety of harmonies and chromatic melodies.
What inspires you to write the music you write?
I get inspired by modern rock and alternative music. Although my roots are in classic rock, I no longer listen to it as I prefer to listen to current artists.
What made you want to play the instrument you play?
I decided to learn guitar when I watched girls screaming during the Beatles performance on Ed Sullivan in 1964.
Are there any musicians who inspire you that are not famous? What qualities do you admire about them?
Vince Marini, my friend and guitar teacher. He died in February. He was a consummate professional musician with a great ear. He could listen to a song and notate it on treble and bass clef with amazing speed. Although a master of rock, classical, and jazz guitar, he would still practice guitar a lot and continued to learn new pieces.
What are your interests outside of music?
Describe your worst performance. What did you learn from this experience?
I attempted to perform a solo fingerstyle guitar song after a long day of playing golf. My hands cramped up and I butchered the song in front of an audience that included several accomplished guitar players.
Tell me what your first music teacher was like. What lessons did you learn from them that you still use today?
Vince Marini was my first teacher. I met him after I had been playing guitar for 40 years. I learned to not be discouraged by the difficulty of a piece but rather perform it slowly with precision and gradually increase the speed. I learned to practice a lot with a metronome trying, as Vince would say, to “make the metronome sound good.”
How would your previous band mates describe you and your work ethic?
Previous band mates would describe me as a band tyrant, always insisting on my way. I have lightened up since then.
If you could play anywhere or with anyone in the world, where or with who would it be?
Paul McCartney, anywhere.
If you could change anything about the music industry today, what would it be?
Bigger streaming percentage for artists.
What strengths do you have that you believe make you the musician you are?
I can focus for extended periods of time. This is useful in learning new pieces and in finding creative solutions to melodic and harmonic dilemmas that arise in songwriting.
Do you have any weaknesses that you're actively working to improve on?
I want to be a better guitar player.
Do you have any anxiety about performing live?
Yes, particularly if I haven’t performed for a long time.
If you had to choose one ... live performance or studio work, which do you prefer and why?
I prefer live performances. You get instant feedback and there are few things better than an audience that likes your material and performance. Moreover, you can get away with less than perfect guitarplaying before an audience. Whereas in the studio, every little detail must be correct and usually the feedback is pointing out errors in the performance.
Describe your creative process when you write new music.
This is hard to describe but I will do my best. Sometimes I come up with a melody first, usually a chorus, which I then harmonize with chords or arpeggios. Melodies are typically associated with words which I sometimes refer to as marker lyrics because they may be changed later. Other times, I am playing chords and hear a melody grow out of them. After that, I try to decide what the song will be about and the song structure. Later comes decisions on whether to add what I call a bridge, i.e., a melody that is different from the verse and chorus, that follows at least the first verse and chorus, and is usually not repeated. Then I’ll work on intros and outros. All this while I’ll be thinking about the lyrics. Once the song structure etc. have been determined, I will focus on lyrics. I sometimes use online rhyme sites to come up with the right lyrics.
What does your practice routine consist of?
I usually play a simple fingerstyle piece slowly to warm up. Then I’ll turn to the guitar techniques or style that I’m currently working on. I’ll end by practicing the pieces that I’ll be performing soon or by working on new songs.
What artists do you enjoy listening to nowadays?
Black Keys, Driver Era, Sir Sly, Billie Eilish, New Pornographers, Harry Styles.
How do you promote your band and shows? No shows for the moment, but the best way to stay updated on all current Aarythmers news is to follow my facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Aarythmers