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Aisles - '4.45am' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/ee/74/ec/Aisles-4-45am-46-1423337449.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 07, 2015    
 
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Open to fans who like their Rock either straightforward or with a little sauce.

Although it may sound like a track from Roger Waters' 'The Pros And Cons Of Hitch Hiking', '4.45am' is the third offering from Santiago-based six-piece Aisles. They come with some history with their 2009 'In Sudden Walks' album being nominated for Best Foreign Record in the Italian Prog Awards, while the new album finds itself mastered by three time Grammy winner Adam Ayan, who can count Rush, Foo Fighters, The Rolling Stones and Pearl Jam as clients.

According to guitarist/singer/keyboardist German Vergara, the album follows the concept of what he calls "the nastiest hour of the day." It explores the contrast of the darkness and light and how the pain and loneliness of the human condition contrasts with the strength of the inner spirit. Hefty and haughty themes indeed but with pretensions veering towards the Progressive genre, having such a concept adds to their case.

The first half (or the old "Side One" for those old enough or with wallets deep enough to remember the vinyl days) very much creates something which is more towards an MOR "radio friendly" vibe; distinctly more North than South American styled Rock with an element of instrumental virtuosity in 'Gallarda Yarura', and restricted to short five minute bursts.

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Things get a tad more interesting with the instrumental mid-point break of breaking waves and wind gusting bluster of 'The Ship' and the flickering and flying guitar led 'Intermission' which is where the fun really starts; the band beginning to sound more like a full-frontal Progressive outfit. There's actually a much more relaxed pace about the second half and the band really push themselves to be genuinely Progressive in the writing and arrangements. From 'Sorrow' which includes nylon string guitar interludes, into the instrumental 'Hero' which moves through several sections with its Floyd-like dreamy opening leading, into what sounds like an organised jam section (some crashing chords and guitar harmonics). It seems like we're preparing for a final grand statement – the closing epic – all ten and a bit minutes of 'Melancholia'; a peaceful journey through a dreamy haze before a lyrical guitar passage gives a lift and brings some hope to the ending of the album.

After what seems like a pretty fair to middling set of opening songs, the influences of the classic elements of the Prog giants finally come to the fore in the writing, arrangements and the song structures, as well as nods to Art Rock, Fusion and World music. In sporting terms, '4.45am' is definitely a game of two halves and leaves the album open to fans who like their Rock either straightforward or with a little sauce.

Mike Ainscoe

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