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Euphonik A Cappella

Miami University

Stay - Single (2014)

4.0

Review By Michael Marcus

June 13, 2014

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What a difference a year makes. I wasn't a fan of Euphonik's debut singleĀ 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.

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