Aloha’s Home Acres has all the ingredients of a good indie release; refined guitar rushes, choppy bass lines and taut drumming in tight arrangements with a pop feel. And yet, I had a hard time becoming familiar with it even though it was inviting the first time I heard it. After a few more spins I realized it was the vocals that kept me at bay. There’s nothing really wrong with the vocals and I don’t have a problem with any of the lyrics, it’s just that there seems to be somewhat of a disconnect between the music and the singing. The vocal parts are slathered in a hazy, echoing ambience and aren’t smoothly integrated with the songs. That being said, it’s not reason enough to dismiss the album, as there is enough substantive music to overcome this imperfection.
In ways similar to the English alt-pop group South, and occasionally sounding a bit like emotive indie hipsters Death Cab for Cutie, Aloha fashion their tunes around course alt-pop with driving rhythms and snappy beats while eschewing radio-friendly hooks in favor of a more in-depth, almost prog-like seasoning. The mixed-meter, spirited drumming and tight rhythms are complimented by smooth tempo changes with transitions to more jagged alt-rock passages that are sometimes glossed over with a shoegazing glaze.
Home Acres needs (and deserves) repeated spins. Not just to assimilate the turbid vocals, and not because it is an acquired taste (in fact most of the tracks have elements that are immediately fetching), but because each track contains subtle textures that are creatively and artfully interwoven into the indie-rock backbone that are slowly etched into your brain over time.
Surprisingly, the highlight is the exuberant drumming that drives each track. Combined with a thirst for adventure and pop experimentation, the refined indie-rock is delivered in various arrangements with a multitude of instruments (including vibraphone) and effects. Each track serves up appealing rock fragments and bright electric guitar leads amid swells of shoegazing drones and has enough twists and turns for a very satisfying listening experience with commercial cross-over potential.
RIYL: South, Paperwork, Death Cab for Cutie