Ariel Posen, ‘Downtown’ — 4/5 Stars

The ‘Downtown’ EP is a complex five-track project with powerful guitar performances and introspective songwriting.

Winnipeg-born singer- songwriter, producer and esteemed guitarist Ariel Posen’s new EP, Downtown, is a suave five-song collection. 

Downtown is heavily imbued with rock, roots, blue-eyed soul and Americana, and draws inspiration from themes of love, life and self through the lens of evolution. 

It’s not hard to see why Posen has been christened as “a modern-day guitar hero” by Rolling Stone and voted by fans as one of the top 10 rock guitarists of 2019 in MusicRadar. Posen’s mastery of the guitar has transformed his playing into its own compelling entity, so much so that his vocals and guitar act as a complimentary duo taking turns at centre stage. This harmonious balance would not be achieved without the strong instrumental foundation of bass, drums and percussion that allows Posen’s voice and guitar to shine. 

The opening song, “Be Enough,” is a wistful track about the melancholy anguish of heartbreak and unrequited love. Despite the ruminative and sorrowful lyrics, the song does not let you fully register the sadness before the lively harmonies and guitar performance start anew. This leaves listeners with a bittersweet feeling. It is as if you got dumped which ultimately sucks, but you are also a hot rock star with plenty of other options, so you use the breakup as an opportunity for creative inspiration instead of wallowing in sadness. 

The next track, “Say It Again,” creates a similar mix of emotions with its plaintive introduction of a subdued melody that abruptly develops into a dynamic rock chorus. The stark contrast in the song’s arrangement aids Posen in narrating the tottering and emotional stages of reconciling with a partner. 

Another standout is “Downtown,” a punchy, pop-infused rock song with a catchy melody and lyrics, plus an out- standing bridge containing a soulful double helix of drums and guitar. 

The EP’s outro, “Better’s on the Way,” has sultry-smooth vocals and crisp instrumentals that produce a rich, moody and impactful send-off, which Posen describes as being “a reminder to keep a positive outlook on life.” 

Downtown is a complex five-track project with powerful guitar performances and introspective songwriting, both of which make for an enthralling and cohesive body of work. 

Ariel Posen’s EP Downtown is available at major retailers.