Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Record Review: Aloha's Some Echoes
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - I passively posted about Aloha a while back after hearing great things about their set at Spaceland and reading a few glowing comments (on this blog). I hadn't heard them, but finally ordered the vinyl directly from their label, Polyvinyl. Vinyl requires a commitment; I can't mindlessly put it on in the car or at work. Often when I'm at home I've already listened to music all day, so all I just wanna kick back and watch Netflix. A couple of weeks ago I finally sat down alone with the record (and some alcohol). At first I was also sorting through mail and newspapers, but a few tracks in I put it all away and grabbed the record sleeve to read along to the lyrics (because I'm a lyric person).
The lead singer has the kind of voice I'm frequently drawn to. It's slightly melancholy and conveys emotion in an understated way. While emo singers resort to shouting and American Idol contestants (and top 40 people) over-sing, the vocalists I like tend to stay within a fairly narrow range. He's a talented lyricist as well. The songs seem personal, but the themes are universal enough that we can all relate to them. He's good at avoiding obvious cliches too.
From the little research I've done about these guys, I learned that the vibraphone often dominated the band's sound. The vibraphone player's no longer in the band, but a few tracks still feature a vibraphone (or possibly a fake vibraphone). Cool with me, ever since I first heard Tortoise, I've been a big vibraphone fan. CNN said the band is inspired by early-Genesis. I haven't heard much early Genesis (I know, Peter Gabriel's talented) so I can't vouch for it one way or another. The music's not your run of the mill indie guitar, bass and drums; they incorporate mellotrons, marimbas and organs into the sound. Entertainment Weekly called it "a perfect laser show soundtrack for the art school set."
Give this record a chance and you'll be rewarded. If it doesn't grab you at first, drink a few glasses of wine and read along to the lyric sheet. At this point I was listening to it so much that now I'm purposely depriving myself of it so I don't burn out on it too quickly. Wanna read more? Pitchfork gave it an 8/10 (if that means anything to you).
Download "Your Eyes" (solid track, but they're more of an album band)