The cover for singer-instrumentalist Aura Blaze’s psychedelic-indie-rock-pop EP, ‘Open-Mindedness.’

Band: Aura Blaze: Musician: Rhode Rachel: All vocals, instruments, and production

EP: ‘Open-Mindedness;’ Released: December 24, 2021; Producer: Rachel

Being completely transparent in their spiritual and emotional introspection into their life journey in their songs is a powerful process that the most successful musicians often indulge in throughout their careers. That’s certainly the case with Califon, New Jersey-based singer-instrumentalist, Rhode Rachel, who recently released his latest EP, ‘Open-Mindedness,’ under his moniker, Aura Blaze.

The three track rock/pop album, which takes inspiration from such fellow psychedelic-indie rock acts as The Beach Boys, Tame Impala, Pond and MGMT, offers a deeper discovery of self, as it acts as a cosmic catalyst for elevated consciousness. Rachel’s latest collection of tunes enthrallingly encourages its listeners to reach that state of mind through intense meditation or psychedelic exploration.

‘Open-Mindedness,’ which is driven by an innovative sound design that merges psych-pop and power-pop sentiments, catchy melodies and an incredibly accessible aesthetic, proves the musician’s natural ability to intertwine lush vocal harmonies with epic orchestral passages. He naturally blends the catchy and legendary timeless vibes of the 1960s and ’70s signature psych rock sound with the symphonic, atmospheric sophistication of modern psych.

Rachel’s newly released record begins with its self-titled entry, which is driven by operatic and grand funk/soul vocals and instrumentals. His post-punk vocal tenor and chord progressions throughout ‘Open-Mindedness’ is enthrallingly set against progressive bass work and’80s style synths that feature a hazy vibe that’s similar to Tame Impala. Rachel’s cynical optimism is the perfect ode to broad-minded thinking, as he advises his listeners to keep an open mind as they try to stop the world from collapsing. The song, whose stellar production make it the perfect contender to become a hit single.

The ‘Open-Mindedness’ track then delves into the EP’s sophomore entry, ‘The Summer Solstice,’ whose joyful harmonies take inspiration from tunes such fellow pop-rock singer-songwriters as Ariel Pink and XTC’s Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding. The song is powerfully driven by Rachel’s signature ’60s-psych surf rock melodies and airy vocal harmonies, which are set against crescendoing organ synths and strings. The musician amusingly croons about feeling good as he embraces the fun loving, revolutionary visions of the summer.

Rachel continues ascending to the apex of enlightened sound with the EP’s final entry, ‘The Only One I Know,’ which is a brilliant cover of The Charlatans’ track of the same name. The singer’s version fully emphasizes the original tune’s psychedelic and shoegaze vibes, while also adding more space-infused ambient sound design. Also driven by grandiose synths and epic drums that stunningly highlight celestial vocals from Rachel and a backing choir, the upbeat song is a truly epic production that’s a true standout.

Rachel is proving what a powerful, soulful musician he is through the release of the equally passionate and fun ‘Open-Mindedness’ EP. The three-track psychedelic-indie-rock/pop album stands out from its contemporaries by being completely transparent in his spiritual and emotional introspection into his life journey.

The tunes on ‘Open-Mindedness’ also offer a deeper discovery of self, as they act as a cosmic catalyst for elevated consciousness. The record, which also enthrallingly encourages its listeners to reach that state of mind through intense meditation or psychedelic exploration, is an apex of enlightened sound that truly stands out in the pop and rock genres.

For more information on Rachel, visit his official website, as well as his Spotify, Bandcamp, SoundCloud, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

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By Karen Benardello

As a graduate of LIU Post with a B.F.A in Journalism, Print and Electronic, Karen Benardello serves as ShockYa's Senior Movies & Television Editor. Her duties include interviewing filmmakers and musicians, and scribing movie, television and music reviews and news articles. As a New York City-area based journalist, she's a member of the guilds, New York Film Critics Online and the Women Film Critics Circle.

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