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Aisles - 'Hawaii' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/35/2d/78/Aisles-Hawaii-1-1481661768.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     December 13, 2016    
 
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A brave attempt to be sure, but a little flawed. There's a good album lurking in here somewhere.

Chilean Progressive Rock has never crossed my path before, so intrigue and also scepticism and trepidation were definitely thoughts/emotions going through my mind. This is Aisles' fourth album, therefore I'm a little surprised I've not come across them before. 'Hawaii' is a concept album spread over two discs, with a story that centres on human colonies in space after the destruction of Earth, and the challenges faced by mankind in that hostile environment. It's without doubt a very bold statement with lofty ambitions and expectations, and it takes a special band to be able to pull off such a feat successfully. So, have Aisles done it? Well, yes and no is the short answer to that.

I found over some eighty minutes of their eclectic mixture of Prog, Psychedelia, Jazz Fusion and Space Rock that my attention wavered on more than one occasion. The album, at times, meanders a little and loses focus somewhat. There is no doubting the bands musical ability, and the album is very atmospheric and does at times remind me of Marillion's 'Brave' opus; but whereas that album didn't seem to waste a single minute in telling the story, I can't bring myself to say that about this album. There are of course some high points, such as the opening 'Poet Part 1 – Dusk', with some interesting jagged rhythms and lovely fluid guitar and keyboard work. Disc one closer 'CH7' is the best track on offer here, clocking in at over twelve minutes, and shows the band off to good effect, with long instrumental passages and moving effortlessly between light and shade; now, if only they could have kept up this sort of standard throughout.

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The second disc is where my attention did start to waver somewhat. I found the concept, in truth, a little difficult to follow and, apart from the excellent Jazz Fusion vibe going on with the title track, it was a bit of a hard slog. I don't take any pleasure in offering up these views. I think the band were onto something here; but spread over two discs it's a little bit too much. However, if they'd made this a single album and kept the concept a little more concise, then I believe they would be onto a winner. Concept albums are, in truth, a difficult beast to master, and I can only think of a handful of albums throughout the years that have really hit the mark.

A brave attempt to be sure, but a little flawed. There's a good album lurking in here somewhere. However, I do fully intend to check out their previous albums to see what they have to offer, as my interest has been suitably piqued.

Malcolm Smith

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