Little Windows Cut Right Through

Aloha

Polyvinyl Records, 2016

http://aloha.bandcamp.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/08/2016

Now that record labels have become obsolete, it's rare that we associate any current label with a wealth of great music. However, in the world of independent rock music, we've been able to count on Polyvinyl Records since 1995 for a steady stream of all types of sounds across the indie rock spectrum.

Although Of Montreal might be the only band who has experienced much mainstream attention from the Polyvinyl camp, there's no denying that Rainer Maria and Braid also became heavy hitters in the underground. With over 200 releases now, for every Of Montreal, Polyvinyl is home to bands like Aloha, who – despite having released half a dozen fantastic albums – aren't exactly on most people's indie rock radar.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“Signal Drift” starts off this quintessentially summer disc with bright melodies and shimmering synth, combining to create song that is equals parts dance pop and indie rock. “Faraway Eyes” follows with a darker, almost post-punk inspired approach, with plenty of fuzz and electronic effects. “Ocean Street” then shifts gears and is a more subdued affair, allowing vocalist Tony Cavallario to illustrate his underrated pipes; the instrumentation here is both dizzying and spellbinding.

Near the middle is where my favorite track resides: the cryptic, dark “Moon Man” which takes on properties not unlike all our favorite Radiohead songs before erupting into a tense and unforgettable indie rock gem with a charming chorus. One of the best songs of the year, this alone is worth the price of admission.

The second half of the album finds the band embracing their experimental ideas with the atmospheric “Flight Risk,” the euphoric synth of “One Hundred Million,” and the hazy “Swinging For The Fences.” The album ends with a culmination of all of Aloha's strengths on the muscular indie rock of “I Heard You Laughing,” where creative instrumentation invades the synth melodies and strong wordplay of Mr. Cavallario.

Most fans will cite 2010's superb Home Acres as Aloha's finest work to date, myself included. Though the band has traded in guitar driven rock for sleek synth-pop on this disc, with the powerful drumming of Cale Parks and unique contributions from all the players here, it is quite apparent that Aloha are masters of whatever variation of indie rock they take on.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 2016 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Polyvinyl Records, and is used for informational purposes only.