Spencer Berger’s music as Auditorium has always possessed a certain extravagance, owing to his auditorium-sized singing voice. Booming and precise (and on Auditorium’s recordings, intricately harmonized), it’s an instrument the native East Coaster honed in his youth as a member of the Metropolitan Opera’s Children’s Chorus. On the first two Auditorium albums, 2011’s “Be Brave” and 2017’s “The First Music,” the vocals alone made his folk/orchestral folk/choral folk/pop-folk a thrill-a-minute listen.
This month he introduced his third album, “Life Changer” (out Oct. 27), with something that sounds straight out of a rock opera. The single “The Harmony Kind of Camero Avenue” features not just vocal acrobatics but guitar pyrotechnics — a mean feat since the entire record is a DIY affair, with Berger singing, playing and recording everything. There are few artists like him.
The veracity of the album’s title can be traced to personal events that happened before it was written and recorded in 2022. “My wife faced several significant health hurdles while we were trying to conceive our first child,” Berger explains. “Then, when she went into labor, she developed a life-threatening condition called HELLP Syndrome. It’s a particularly devastating form of preeclampsia that can lead to stroke and death.” As it turned out, the Bergers’ child was born healthy and his wife recovered after spending five days in the Maternal Fetal Care Unit.
There’s a lot to unpack in the lyrics of “The Harmony Kind of Camero Avenue,” which gets its name from the street in Los Feliz whose eastern terminus is the Franklin Hills. “The song’s title comes from the name of one of the steepest streets in Los Angeles, which was where my wife and I were living during the entire period that inspired the album,” Berger says. “Our friends used to jokingly refer to the street as ‘Mt. Berger.’ There was something almost comical about going through such a challenging period in our lives, while simultaneously having to huff and puff up a mini-mountain every single day just to get back to our apartment.”
||| Stream: “The Harmony Kind of Camero Avenue”