Euphonik A Cappella
Stay - Single (2014)
Review By Michael Marcus
June 13, 2014
This single is available for download from these vendors:
What a difference a year makes. I wasn't a fan of Euphonik's debut single Don't You Worry Child, but they've won me over with their sophomore effort Stay.
At the heart of this solid track is a supremely thoughtful arrangement by Nicholas Wright (also a current RARB reviewer) that completely reconstructs Rihanna's original. It begins halfway through the first verse, with soloist Katherine Depew floating over a lovely sparse "ooh". That iconic piano riff is nowhere to be heard, replaced by beautifully crunchy pad chords peppered occasionally with moving lines, close harmonies, and even a few well-placed arpeggios. The track really takes off just past the halfway mark, when Aaren Henry's gorgeous tenor arrives. His duet with Depew is definitely a highlight, as is the chill-inducing wall of sound that takes us home. In short, the arrangement tells a story, and it's about the furthest thing from a transcription one could imagine. Bravo.
However, there's still plenty of room for improvement. The transitions from closed to open vowels are a nice touch but far too abrupt and jarring for this beautiful ballad. And the bridge is rendered as a round, which makes those crucial lyrics ("Funny you're the broken one" etc.) uninteligable. This is one area where I wish Wright had taken a cue from the original and given the two leads another duet opportunity.
Euphonik is currently raising funds for its first album — and after hearing Stay, I'm definitely looking forward to more from this up and coming group.