New Noise :: Aloha: Light Works

Light Works (Polyvinyl)
Verdict: 6.4.
RIYL: Death Cab for Cutie, The Shins

Light Works is an astutely appropriate title: The seven tunes on the mini-LP (or really long EP) are profoundly quiet, eschewing Aloha’s trademark prog-rock clamor for plaintive, heart-on-sleeve indie-pop built on pristine, plucked acoustic guitars and pastoral piano figures. Indeed, “Too much of anything is wrong,” which Tony Cavallario muses on “Passengers,” is much less a lyric and much more a statement of purpose; to call Light Works sparse is an understatement. Quasi-prog arrangements and refined architectural elements go out with the old; sad-bastard, Plans-esque sentiment and palpable wuss-pop come in with the new. Indeed, fans of latter-day Death Cab for Cutie will eat this shit up — though, to its credit, it’s much headier and a much more refreshing listen than anything Death Cab’s done since The Photo Album, most especially "Body Buzz," which doesn't aspire to anything more than steady trot, but its end-of-summer-romance aesthetic is at once picturesque and gorgeous in its low-key splendor, making perfect use of piano and organ accents (not to mention yet another brilliant performance from drummer Cale Parks). But Aloha’s greatest strength was its beefy, quadraphonic ornamentation; the adventurous listener was rewarded with the efforts of an adventurous band. Now, the adventure is gone. In short, Light Works isn’t good, but it isn’t bad; it’s decidedly middle-of-the-road. “I must admit, I’ve slipped a bit,” Tony Cavallario croons on “Broken Light.” Maybe you have, Tony. Maybe you have.

Aloha - "Body Buzz" [from Light Works]
Aloha, Light Works [eMusic]
Aloha [MySpace]
Aloha [Polyvinyl]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A vinyl LP picture disc is now available from Mi Amante Records.