With just a pair of microphones between them, no editing, click tracks, or layering, David Manchester and Jessica Hoffmann of Arlo Aldo recorded Two-Piece Promenade. The five-track release from November is 100 percent live and captures the indie-folk band in its most exposed and intimate form.
“It’s very earnest and honest in terms of what we’re putting into it,” says Manchester. “It’s also the most stripped down and bare of anything we’ve done. Even other live recordings we’ve done, it’s been a five-piece band or things like that.”
And it’s true, without the layering, the EP is a step away from Arlo Aldo’s signature sound. Manchester says it gives listeners a chance to focus on the lyrics and meaning of the songs, and to take notice of Arlo Aldo’s whimsical, yet reflective, view of the world.
With Manchester singing and playing guitar, and Hoffman playing viola and backing up vocals with soft harmonies, Two-Piece Promenade features five tracks, four of which are new to the band’s repertoire.
In “Society,” Manchester belts out “When you think you have to want more than you need …” and takes a haunting look at consumer culture. Hoffman embraces the lead in “Porch Lights,” and urges the listener to come, sit on the porch, and simply enjoy one another's company, no matter what is weighing down the mind.
Fans of the Pittsburgh-based folk band might recognize a new version of “Snow Day,” a song from Arlo Aldo’s first album, Zelie.
“‘Snow Day’ has been through a lot of iterations,” says Manchester, “but it’s never been recorded with just two people. From my standpoint, it’s sort of a farewell to the recording of that song.”
In essence, the entirety of Two-Piece Promenade is an interlude into Arlo Aldo's next phase.
“It’s kind of a palate cleanser because the next album is going to be much more of a concept album,” says Manchester. “The last couple of our recordings have been very sonically dense. I wanted to have something that gave people an idea of the kinds of material we are working on for the next album without exposing too much of what the next album will sound like.”
Arlo Aldo hopes to get into the studio for the next album soon and aims to release new music next fall. Until then, fans can get to know them better with Two-Piece Promenade.