“Signal Drift,” the first song on Aloha’s new record (out 6 May 2016) is arguably the most futuristic-sounding song, this side of the year 2050. The sonically quirky instrumentation create an automated piece of efficient pop perfection one would expect to hear over loudspeakers in a Jetson’s-era shopping mall. If sounds had hues, this would be bright technicolor.
While the record is a huge overall nod to prog rock, there is a humanistic aspect that gives it soul in the form of Tony Cavallario’s often vulnerable mid to higher registered vocals. “Marigold” with it’s vague 70’s AM radio vibe and “Faraway Eyes” are among the standouts here where vocal melancholia works in great unison with bright sound washes of technology. For a high point in an unexpected place; check the background harmonies in the chorus of “One Hundred Million,” which sound like one of the catchiest hooks that ELO never recorded.
With such emphasis on the bleeps and waves of instruments which create sounds of tomorrow, the post-rock guitars and various elements of percussion often bang away in the back of the mixes. These more typical rock sounds add well to the cuts and despite not being the guiding force, there would be something clearly missing if they weren’t there. This plays a huge part in separating their sound from typical synth/electronic music which -lets face it- can at times be cloying.
Prog music for the modern indie rock fan is a basic description of the musical paintings Aloha have created on Little Windows Cut Right Through. With both bright and dark musical displays of sounds and lyrical self-examination, the tracks here are indeed atypical in a world where it is difficult to be.
Top Tracks: Marigold, One Hundred Milion
Aloha – Little Windows Cut Right Through/10 tracks/Polyvinyl Records/2016