Aloha | Some Echoes (Polyvinyl)

Full of melodic keyboards and intricate percussions that layer the music oh-so ethereally, Aloha whip out all the instrumental stops, from marimbas to their true forte: the vibraphone.

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Aloha has received a lot of music-press buzz for being a prog-rock-orchestral-pop-band whose members don’t even live in the same city. That’s enough against them right there. However, their musical influences and ranges are about as widespread as they come. They transcend space and time from Chicago, Washington D.C., Cleveland, Cincinnati, Rochester, and Pittsburgh, reflecting a bit of the Beach Boys, early Police, the Dismemberment Plan, and John Vanderslice. Their fourth album, Some Echoes, is a tie-dyed head spin of indie rock in today’s music world.

Taking a step away from their jazz-oriented beginnings, Aloha present a new sound of engaging keyboard-driven pop. The key to success is that the mixture of each song, though complex and heavy, is laid out well for optimum listening pleasure. There are many things going on for the four-piece band, but they pull it together like a tie-breaking free throw shot in the last minute of the game.

Some Echoes starts to take shape and form as it hits its midpoint. Track five, “Between the Walls,” has a keyboard that sounds like a tweeting bird through the verses, then slides into a break that resembles an army of marching ants. Next up, “Come Home” has a clave-based groove with soft lyrical side melodies. While the vocals and lyrics serve as almost a background to the tunes, they are still a vital and complimentary part of each song.

Full of melodic keyboards and intricate percussions that layer the music oh-so ethereally, Aloha whip out all the instrumental stops, from marimbas to their true forte: the vibraphone. The last track, “Mountain,” provides the perfect mental image of an elderly lady rocking out in something that sounds like an organ after all the members have left the church.

It’s clear that Aloha put a lot of thought into this record, which must have led to some gnarly headaches. They allude to this by giving special thanks their medications in the liner notes.

I dare you to give an honest listen to this record and not like what they’ve got going on. Aloha is unique, a rare gem untouched by mundane sounds, and how often does something new and fresh come around in this flooded market? Even after listening intensely a number of times, I continued to discover something new, much like the joy of a never-ending, every-flavor jawbreaker.

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