Exposé Online banner

Aisles — Hawaii
(Presagio PRCD1104, 2016, 2CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2017-02-03

Hawaii Cover art

With Hawaii, Aisles provides a good example of how a tried-and-tested genre can still produce creative gems. In broad terms, the band plays neo-progressive rock superficially like most other neo-progressive rock. The melodies are catchy and the harmonies accessible; there is an occasional nod to progressive metal in the guitar; the lyrics touch on weighty subjects and sometimes have a science-fictional bent; and the tunes feature varying sections, even grouped into suites at times. There will be moments where a unison melody between synthesizer and guitar will remind you of something off A Trick of the Tail, and some slightly fusion-esque instrumental sections a bit like Jet Lag era PFM. But there are some nicely unexpected touches, like the lovely synthesizer sequence that backs the second half of “Year Zero” and the weird synth and drums section at the end of “Terra.” A useful comparison might be what you’d get if you took the poppish leanings of ...And Then There Were Three, but maintained the gutsy creativity of Selling England by the Pound. Though I want to be clear that Aisles is no mere Genesis fan-band. Certainly the vocals are nothing like anything Genesis ever did — Sebastian Vergara has a clear tenor with a strong high register and not a hint of bluesy grit. The guitars, both electric and acoustic, are never very much like Hackett. But it’s really the keyboards that are distinctive with Aisles. Aside from the previously mentioned sequences, there are many lovely spots where a resonant analog sound fills the role that might normally be played by a string sound. There are also some really unexpected sounds that resemble modular synth knob-twiddling (though of course that can be simulated these days). At over an hour and 20 minutes, it’s maybe a bit overlong, but I can’t point to any lame tracks that would be better skipped. The weakest moment is fairly brief: a stiff dialog at the beginning of “Club Hawaii” that is very awkward — which is a shame since the rest of the track is excellent. All in all, Aisles has produced an impressive set of tunes that are easily the equal of anything currently in the world of progressive rock outside the avant stream.


Filed under: New releases, 2016 releases

Related artist(s): Aisles

More info
http://aisles.bandcamp.com/album/hawaii

Latest news

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more

2020-04-23
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Suspended Memories - Earth Island – Steve Roach is a very individual and influential synthesist: when he is involved in a project he is usually the most distinguishable factor. The Suspended Memories trio is one of these exceptions; its...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues