Of Sins Present and Past is the debut album from Alt Americana Rock musician John Aulabaugh, a man with a mission to use the healing power of music in the treatment of the bumps on life’s rocky road.
Having seen personally the life-destroying effects of alcohol and drugs on others, John has released his album with the drive to financially support the organizations he works with, such as Transitions, a non-profit that provides recovery treatment services.
While all of his tracks feature soulful vocals and varying mixes of violin, guitar and drums, there are some that stand out more for me than others. The first is “Elasticity”, a shortish track at under three minutes but one that utilises a catchy hook in the form of many lines beginning with “There’s a…” This helps the track carry the listener along, especially with the repetition of words like “It’s gone it’s gone it’s gone.” I really like this lyrical device and enjoy the way it adds heft to the words. The next track that really caught my attention was “Undone”, a track with a languid pace, echoing vocals and a dreamlike quality with lyrics like “My baby, she fell on my gun” and “She’s come undone”. An introspective track that echoes around your mind.
“Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” is another track full of great images conjured by the lyrics. There are more than a few nods to childhood stories like Alice in Wonderland with the lyric “Chasing little rabbits down the tiny rabbit hole”. The lyrics seem quite sad yet the song is quite upbeat in tone, to me at least. I quite like that. The final track I want to highlight is “Awake”, a track full of echoing guitar notes and a more distorted sound. I particularly enjoy the “wailing guitar” solo just after the midpoint of the track; it seems to embody the night-time funk felt in the rest of the track and hints at the strange qualities that night can sometimes contain.
I didn’t find much at all to dislike amongst the other tracks. The only thing I noticed was that in “It’s Coming”, the chorus lyrics struggle a little against the background music in volume. This is only noticeable because the majority of the tracks have a very strong chorus sound. It’s a minor difference but I would like to hear this chorus as crisply as in the other tracks.
Of Sins Present and Past is described as an anthology with themes of hope and empathy and I certainly get that from the sometimes quite dark lyrics. John is joined by Dave Krusen on the drums and Jessy Greene on the violin, the mixture of the three creating a great album containing tracks that feature a variety of pace, tone and sound but that all manage to hang together and make it an album well worth a listen.
You can visit John Aulabaugh’s website at this link for more information.