CD Reviews

Aisles - 'In Sudden Walks' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 11, 2013    
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A masterful collection of smooth prog tunes.

Signed to Melodic Revolution last year, Chilean progressive rock band Aisles are currently hard at work on their third album. As they do so, their new label has reissued their two previous records. ‘In Sudden Walks is their second and was first released back in 2009. Aisles play an enthralling mix of styles from rock and prog to jazz and even new age that are driven along by the crisp, Latin flavoured percussive strokes of drummer extraordinaire Felipe Candia. It must be said that this is an oddly gentle album that chooses to soothe and caress rather than assault your eardrums but this in no way diminishes its appeal.

On album opener ‘Mariachi’ the mood ebbs and flows between strident rhythms and ringing guitars to slower, smooth Latin jazz and mournful guitar lines. The use of indigenous Spanish dialogue also gives this track not so much a world music but world cinema feel. ‘Revolution Of Light’ has an almost new wave pop vibe with some prog flourishes that are reminiscent of mid-80s period Rush. In fact Sebastián Vergara’s vocals remind me of that spiky haired new waver Howard Jones and, as such, they may prove too “poppy” for some prog rock purists but, to my mind, they suit the band perfectly. ‘Summer Fall’ and ‘The Maiden’ add even more colour and vibrancy to proceedings through the use of moody, atmospheric acoustic passages and superlative vocal harmonies as well as folk, flamenco and even oriental themes. ‘Smile Of Tears’ starts with a Jan Hammer style keyboard refrain (think Sonny Crockett brooding on his boat in the 80s TV series ‘Miami Vice’), before building into a tender, hypnotic symphonic piece.

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At first glance, the fifteen minute album closer ‘Hawaii’ conjures up imagery of swaying Polynesian rhythms. Whilst there is the odd slack-key guitar motif that nods to Hawaiian culture; this turns out to be the most new age track on offer where a number of the expansive shimmering themes could be played in any alternative therapist’s treatment room! I also love Vangelis-esque keyboard washes and beeps that drift in and out of the song.

You’ll appreciate from what I’ve said that there are a myriad of styles on show here that have been expertly stitched together into a record that reveals more and more with every listen. This is very much a mood album but I can think of no better way to drift into the arms of Morpheus than in the company of this masterful collection of smooth prog tunes.

Alister Strachan

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