Recorded at the Armoury Studios in Vancouver, Elevate is the latest release from Canadian vocalist Lee Aaron and it’s another rich seam of radio-friendly rockers which continues the form that she’s been demonstrating since her return to music in 2016. The follow up to last year’s excellent Radio On!, Aaron has continued to craft songs that contain hooks and melody and allow her and her band to show their true colours once more.
Lee Aaron – Elevate (Metalville)
Release Date: 25 November 2022 (Digital) / 9 December 2022 (Physical)
Words: Paul Hutchings
Traditionally Aaron has recorded live off the floor, and this album is no different. She reunites with her crack band Sean Kelly (guitar), Dave Reimer (bass) and John Cody (drums) to provide an album which was written in lockdown. With Mike Fraser back as recording and mix engineer, the sound is big, polished, and full of the bluesy soulful style that Aaron began to forge nearly 40 years ago.
There’s a variety of tempos to digest. The opening track Rock Bottom Revolution is well-placed to kickstart the record. An upbeat rocker, it’s the ideal fist-pumper to start the album with a bang. There’s a lovely hook located in The Devil U Know that really sticks in the mind long after you’ve heard it, something that Aaron is great at crafting. You’ll be humming it for days.
As usual, the record contains deeper and more thoughtful observations in the singer’s writing. Freak Show is the obvious track where she focuses on the divisiveness of life. It’s a foot-tapping goodie and another example of her ability to write catchy tunes.
“I think it’s a shame how social media can divide good people,” Aaron says about Elevate. “Analytics guarantee everyone has their own special ‘feed’ and you’re never hearing a different perspective – it polarizes people. Elevate is about not buying into that trap. It’s about choosing to lift each other up.”
From the smouldering, seductive defiance of Still Alive, the thumping Highway Romeo with its quality pop sensibilities to the gentle, emotional Red Dress, each song brings something different. It’s perfectly delivered, with the music strong but never overpowering Aaron’s vocals. There’s also Spitfire Woman, which is brooding and seductive with some dark overtones. It also features a lovely string segment and, at over six minutes, is by far the longest song on the album.
Once more, Aaron has proved, as if she ever needed to, that class is permanent. Her last three albums have been superb, and Elevate maintains that standard. A highly recommended release.