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(55:20, ‘Presagio Records’)
TRACK LIST: 1. 4:45 AM 4:06 2. Gallarda Yarura 4:32 3. Shallow and Daft 4:52 4. Back my Strength 4:54 5. The Sacrifice 5:08 6. The Ship 0:57 7. Intermission 5:02 8. Sorrow 6:57 9. Hero 8:11 10. Melancholia 10:41 LINEUP: German Vergara – guitars; keyboards; vocals Sebastian Vergara – vocals; keyboards Rodrigo Sepulveda – guitars; vocals Alejandro Melendez – keyboards Daniel Baird-Kerr – bass Felipe Candia – drums With>: David Nunez – violin Diana Brown – violin Valentina Maza – viola Alejandro Barria – cello Nelson Arrigada – contrabass Constanza Maulen – female vocals
Prolusion. The Chilean band AISLES was formed back in 2001, and came to some prominence when they released their debut album "The Yearning" in 2005 through Mylodon Records (South America) and Musea Records (Europe). Since then they have set up their own label, Presagio Records, and released a further two albums. "4:45 AM" is the most recent of these, and was released towards the tail end of 2013.
Analysis. The dividing line between progressive rock and melodic rock can at times be one hard to define, and one of the bands that in its current guise appears to hover on this particular borderline is Aisles. I recall them as a band exploring a promising brand of neo progressive rock from their debut album, and a band that diversified their expression quite a bit on their second full-length production. On this latest effort art rock is a better description than progressive rock as far as general style is concerned, as there aren't all that many references to what the greater majority would describe as progressive rock as such left, but the ones still present will arguably be best described as neo progressive rock. On one occasion, Shallow and Daft, the material explored is probably best described as synthy pop, of the kind that made me think of the Norwegian band A-Ha on occasion. Opening and title track 4:45 AM is a firm and elegant slice of melodic rock, and a radio friendly example of that to boot, while second track Gallarda Yaruda appears as a creation trying to blend a waltz-based theme into a neo progressive framework. As this production unfolds there are other tracks that make a more striking impression. The multi-part, mournful instrumental Hero will most likely be the creation that finds favor amongst the greater majority of progressive rock fans, even if there is a synthy pop oriented passage hidden in between the atmospheric multiple part of this composition too. Personally I favor the compositions exploring a more delicate landscape on this production. Which are quite a few. All of them revolve around plucked, delicate guitar motifs to some extent, with vocals and various kinds of rhythm details as the main supplements. Sorrow is a brilliant example amongst them. On these compositions the band showcases just how much a quality lead vocalist can contribute to, add nerve and tension to a song, and just as important are the contributions of drummer Candia. If someone wants to analyze how important an innovative drummer can be for the total experience of a song, his subtle rhythm and percussion details merit a mention or two. Really good drummers are hard to come by, and Aisles appears to have found their perfect man in that department, a drummer that is skilled enough to be able to elevate the total experience of a song by his contributions and by way of careful details rather than flamboyant and dominant drum patterns at that.
Conclusion. As of 2013 Aisles comes across as an accomplished art rock band, a unit that manages to incorporate synthy pop into their sound with the same ease as they incorporate melodic and neo progressive rock, but who appear to be at their best when exploring moods of a more tranquil nature, using vocals and rhythm details to very good effect in creations that revolve around careful, frail guitar motifs and unobtrusive keyboards and strings to create strong and distinct moods with a lot of nerve, despite their overall delicate and careful nature. A production that merits a check by those intrigued by bands described as art rock as well as by those who tends to enjoy music that merits a description as sophisticated rock.
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