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

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Various Artists - A Bead to a Small Mouth – Each track on this compilation integrates spoken text and sound manipulation, with results both mysterious and captivating. On "A New Dress" Nurse with Wound layers shifting, hypnotic metallic tones...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues