Auna

Texas Platters

Phases and Stages

Auna

Secretly to... (Untouched) As the nü-metal-phobic indie nation continues to bury vocals and riffs under an avalanche of gear trickery, local bands like Auna hearken back to the way things were not so very long ago, back when big riffs and clever melodies were all it took to land a spot on the commercial dial. Auna's Secretly to... kicks off with a chunky, buzzsaw guitar attack that grabs hold of the speakers and never lets go. Singer Devi pleads, laments, and frets quite assertively in a voice that recasts Maynard James Keenan as a higher-pitched, sensitive alt-pop boy. "I can't take this anymore, anymore," Devi repeats ad nauseum on "Revamped." It's the sort of loud-rock/low-self-esteem combo that was the Smashing Pumpkins' forte, and it wears thin after awhile. So do the constantly pounding riffs, which aren't accented by enough moments of restraint. The jammin' instrumental "Stereo Poet" shows where Auna's rock & roll heart is. Secretly to... is an assertive, confident first effort, but it tries too hard to be instantly radio-ready. Auna might be better served by branching out and expanding their breadth of sound, so that when that radio time comes, they'll be good and ready to fill up the entire spectrum.

**

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