Spontaneity seems to come easily to Oakland, California-based quartet Audrye Sessions.
For one thing, the band name came from a CD burner commercial that happened to be showing on television when the venue they were going to be playing at asked for it.
The band started when frontman Ryan Karazija (guitar, vocals) met Alicia Marie Campbell (bass) while he was playing solo in a coffee house. After getting together, they sought out a guitarist on Craigslist to which Michael Knox answered by replying that he did not have one. And somehow James Leste became the band’s drummer.
If ever anyone needed proof that life just happens, simply ask any member of Audrye Sessions how the band started. And that’s also pretty much how Karazija writes the songs: “I’ll wait for lyrics to happen, and one day I’ll find something perfect” (press release). Sometimes lyrics happen while he’s driving and will text message his friends with a complete song so he doesn’t forget them.
This is in part what makes Audrye Sessions intriguing to listen to. They can grab hold of incredibly varied inspirational ideas. With the opening “Turn Me Off” Karazija remembers watching a television special about war veterans who come back injured. Karazija describes the song “about being so messed up that you want to be shut off.” In the end, however, he keeps it quite dapper through the song’s up-tempo beat.
The band finds their inner Radiohead with “Awake” through Karazija’s soft, almost incomprehensible, vocals and the slightly progressive march toward an instrumental apex. The following “Where You’ll Find Me” matches its predecessor in ambition but instead takes the more acoustic and less flair approach toward its climax.
If the three preceding tracks were any indication of the EP’s direction, then you would be correct in surmising that the finale “New Year’s Day” would be sort of an anti-climax. It’s not an anti-climax in the sense that it’s a letdown, but in the sense that any mention of January 1st would represent a grand celebration or a massive send-off. What Audrye Sessions does instead is reflect on the subtle, yet direct notion that it’s simply one more day in another long series of days: “New year’s day, I’ll wake up / in the same familiar way / Where I end, we’ll begin / we’ll do it all over again.”
It’s depressing to think about any day like that, but of course, it’s even worse on a day that so many people come to enjoy and look forward to. And I thought San Francisco Bay Area people were supposed to be happy? I guess Audrye Sessions defies those expectations.