Sounding more like a sci-fi soundtrack than a prog-rock album this has more ambience and 80’s synth than a Hans Zimmer score. Lots of ideas and extra’s crammed into a sprawling ambitious and psychaldelic album.
It’s 5 minutes into the opening track ‘The Sun’ before we get vocals and the build up to this moment is arguably more interesting than the peak. Instead of a slow climb and gradual build like many post-rock artists will use, AlithiA come out of the gates strong and big..then let it all fade back down towards the end. An odd choice for an opener. Not what I was expecting either, so hats off to the band for a curve ball and dodging the genre-expectations.
The enormous synth waves and layered backing vocals create an ethereal spacey feeling but the persistence of these elements becomes overwhelming. With headphones on you may notice the subtle percussion thrown in the background and panning/stereo effects which are all really cool..but actually don’t serve the songs at all. Its just more in the mix.
The lack of notable choruses or memorable hooks/lines/phrases is a big issue for me. There’s loads of singing mind you, it’s all just less engaging than the other sounds and attention grabbing moments.
Standout track ‘Empress’ is a much more focussed and concentrated song than others because it gets to the point in its 4 minutes and drops some great lines to catch on to. The band incorporate a lot more attack and drive here which is when they sound best. Even the vocals switch up from the softer singing into yells and screams adding to a much needed aggression. For me…the band have this approach completely dialled and it’s real strong. Sadly they don’t stick with it.
The musicality of this album is really high and the production values have been polished and refined to a high standard. Indeed everything sounds rrrrrreally good. Time well spent in the mix. Guitars get to mess about a lot and carry the majority of the heavy lifting when the synths aren’t distracting or overbearing..and yeh..that happens a lot. Still I cant fault them for their choice in pads, strings and synths.
The drummer and percussionist have heaps of sweet moments to shine both in the forefront and in the background. As I said earlier.. headphones will reveal lots of buried surprises in there.. from chimes to shakers and djembe’s etc. It’s admirable, but unnecessary in my opinion. Like..when you add too much sugar to a coffee..?
The album is good, a solid effort which is almost great. Too much of a good thing is still too much…and they had way too much in there. Because you ‘can’ doesn’t always mean you ‘should’. Dynamics, space and pacing need attention. Song writing needs to be a higher priority than musicality, otherwise I suggest this band just splinters off into an instrumental outfit and own it.
As always take a listen for yourself and discover this with your own ears..i just couldn’t connect with it and yet…can not ignore the talent and tremendous amount of effort that must have been put in.
The Moon Has Fallen’ drops Oct 26th via Wild Thing
Follow em here: