Never has Aloha sounded so tight, so completely in control of its sound, so assured of that sound. On Some Echoes, the band’s fourth full-length release and first since 2004’s impressive Here Comes Everyone, Aloha dips ever deeper into the 60s-influenced psychedelic pop sound while mixing it with a modern indie-pop sound. It’s all here, fusing pop, jazz, psychedelica, and rock into an album that will surely appeal the band’s widest fanbase yet.
What’s most obvious on Some Echoes is how well produced this effort is. You wouldn’t know that the four members of Aloha are scattered across the country, getting together semi-regularly to write and rehearse these songs before recording many at Inner Ear Studios in DC. The songs are remarkably tight and cohesive, mixing a variety of influences throughout the release and sometimes on the same song. Ever present is the unique percussive elements that have always defined Aloha, from the stellar rhythm of bass and drums to the unique marimba and vibraphone, and here they’re complimented by the strong guitar, keyboards, and Tony Cavallerio’s smooth voice.
The album opens with perhaps its strongest track, the non-pop-lengthed “Brace Your Face,” a catchy and yet dreamy pop song that’s rich with the band’s unique percussive approach and catchy vocals. “Your Eyes” will take its place along with the band’s best songs, and yet here the familiar vibraphone is mixed nicely low into the mix, allowing the catchy rhythm and head-bobbing chorus to take center stage. “Come Home” feels more laid back, the kind of track you want to sway to at a live show, and it’s also perhaps the richest, most involved song in the band’s catalogue. “Weekend” follows with one of the most upbeat tracks, a brilliant mix of poppy rhythms, delicate guitar, and lush vocals.
That 60s sound referenced in the opening is obvious on tracks like “Big Morning,” which has a kind of trippy, psychedelic approach in the light tone and high-pitched vocals. Playful organ-like instrumentation and very light rhythm give the odd “Between the Walls” a lilting feel that reminds me of Sufjan Stevens, while the vintage organ of “Summer Lawn” evokes a kind of prog-rock sensibility a la King Crimson at times. The closing “Mountain” combines all the elements, rich with booming percussion, vintage organs, energetic guitars, and powerful vocals, upping the band’s pop style for a rich, timeless rock approach.
It is absolutely essential to raise the volume while listening to Some Echoes. Far too many components – whether the backing keyboards or the always creative percussion – could be lost at low volumes. And with the volume up, Cavallerio’s smooth vocals shine sweetly and allow these honey-rich songs to float through the atmosphere, your head bobbing while being transported to a unique place, drugs not required for this trip. These songs are catchy and refreshingly unique, a trademark to the Aloha sound that continues to get better with every release.