Album Review

Ayla Nereo

The Code of the Flowers

Written by Taco Olmstead

As much as I love shreddy guitar licks, fast paced organ and funk beats, I often find myself seeking out down tempo music that takes me to my introspective space. It’s a nice space to be in when your mind yearns for a connection with your soul, free of the distractions of both work and play. I was pleased when I opened up my message box to receive a request for an album review of songstress Ayla Nereo’s latest release The Code of the Flowers. I don’t think I can say enough about this album, but I’d like to try.

The opening of this album seats you squarely into a soothing space. “Whispers” is just that, wisdom whispered throughout our natural world. This track immediately renews your connection to that soothing space we seek in our natural world. It is a journey through the questions we often ask ourselves when placed in a quiet forest where your mind is allowed to roam.

The following tracks, “Titghtrope Walker” and “Look at the River” continue down the path of introspection and the pace of the journey picks up with the tempo. Like any journey through the forest, the scenery changes and your thoughts follow. The fourth track, “Seeds”, takes you down another corridor of thought and raises questions about where we are as a world, as a community and as a people.

The following track, “Ivory Tongue”, explores more thoughts on why we are who we are, and how we came to be here, as we are today. This is one of my favorite tracks and at this point, as the tempo picks up, so do your thoughts. The next track, “Little Beckon”, expounds on these thoughts and nurtures them, allowing room for optimistic thoughts of our future.

The following track “Waves”, continues down an upbeat, optimistic path and Ayla continues to play off of her gift for harmonies and lures you in with her soothing voice. Ayla’s allure and optimistic message echoes onward into the next track, “Turning Wake”. Ayla has a knack for both writing a solid hook and drawing the listener inward, which frankly is a wonderful break from the current norm in music today.

The next three tracks, “Wild Burn”, “We Forgot” and “Hum”, slip back into that soothing introspection the album opened with, adding a bit more bite despite the subtlety of the rip. These three tracks perfectly set the stage for what is one of my favorite tracks on the album, “Drive by Fires”. This track emotes the struggles we all face in our world today and for those who empathize for their brothers and sisters who’ve grown weary from their own personal struggles with life. There is something to be said for songwriting that so properly portrays the simplicity of emotion, arguably one of Ayla’s strongest suits in songwriting.

The final track of the album, “The Course”, is a crescendo of the emotions brought to the surface of this album. Ayla’s voice is perhaps at its most raw, most vulnerable and declares to the world that there is something pure in the soul of her music. The album, like all introspective journeys asks the listener a myriad of personal questions. “The Course”, while continuing to ask these questions, answers each of them in the simplicity of its personal message of owning your place in this world. It is a message that has been told for centuries by seers and sages throughout the world and all too often overlooked by the seekers, it’s all on you. If you want to see this world change, you have no other choice but to lift up the torch yourself, and take that first step that begins with your own life, your own actions, thoughts and dreams. No one person, group, agency or government is responsible for your life, it’s a journey for you to take alone and ultimately we need to take on that responsibility ourselves if we ever hope to live a life in a world that we all yearn for.

You can listen to the album on Soundcloud here: and learn more about Ayla Nereo here: