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Aisles - Hawaii CD (album) cover

HAWAII

Aisles

 

Neo-Prog

3.95 | 58 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

memowakeman
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Review originally publishes in www.therocktologist.com

A nice album!

I had the luck to see Aisles on stage in their recent visit to Mexico City and I must say they really know how to prog! They are as good on stage as in their studio albums, which let us realize their capabilities. This band from Chile is now promoting their 'Hawaii' album, a release from 2016 which is a great 2-cd concept album that shows the development of the band to a new sound, I mean, their regular neo-prog sound can be found here but maximized to its best expression, and also with some spacey, melancholic nuances and jazzy touches that make this a great release.

In the first CD we will find five songs. It opens with 'The Poet, Pt. I: Dusk', a challenging 10-minute epic wisely chosen to start the album. Its first minute is a nice jazzy introduction that leads to a calm atmospheric sound. Little by little the instruments add their prints, and then vocals appear at 2:30 and the concept is about to begin. The song explodes at minute 4 where the sound becomes a bit chaotic, and then it slows down and changes once and again, with a great instrumental passage that shows that neo-prog sound, mainly due to guitar and keys. And then, it fades out so we suddenly are now listening to 'The Poet, Pt- II: New World', which is a calm piece, laid-back and with a melancholic feeling. If you push me a bit, I find this part much weaker than the first one, to be honest, in spite of its pretty good final part that adds a Camel-esque sound.

A storm or maybe an earthquake appear in 'Year Zero', the music is soft and calm, but then an electronic rhythm starts so the atmosphere becomes spacey and futuristic, the mood is a bit tense, it easily puts some images in my mind. It leads to 'Upside Down', a melancholic tune due to the piano sound. The vocals are sweet but disarming, main and backing vocals, by the way. Later a nice guitar solo appears while electronics work as background, now the atmosphere is a bit darker and the song more intense and interesting. The first CD finishes with the amazing 'CH-7', which happens to be the longest composition off the album. I'll be honest, the first time I listened to it, I seem to feel bored, but later the love for this track grew up on me when I could find its beauty, but maybe one has to be patient and listen to it with good headphones, maybe one's mood also helps here. It might be a slow piece, but it has brought several feelings to me, from despair to hope, and when a song does that it means it has reached not only my ears but also hit something inside myself.

The second CD starts with 'Terra', a nice peaceful track where acoustic guitar and the sweet voice guide us to a new journey. While the minutes pass, new elements are being added, but in the end the tranquility reigns here. 'Pale Blue Dot' is a very nice track, it has a modern sound, like prog and alternative so it might be easy to dig and enjoy so its 10 minutes run fast. 'Still Alive' has a Marillion-like feeling with its calm and melancholic sound. Then a short but addictive track appears with 'Nostalgia', it is the shortest one, but man, it is beautiful, I love it. Then the great 'Club Hawaii' appears, a ten-minute epic that shows Aisles' sound at its best. Great musicianship can be appreciated here, amazing changes in time and tempo, wonderful drums and a first class technical shuffle, here also the singer does an extraordinary performance. The strings are great; this must be one of the best tracks off the album.

The last part of the album comes with 'Falling', a short and tender piano-based track that leads to 'In The Probe' which has the same melancholic sound and a Marillion-esque feeling with the vocals. The prog rock label is not here anymore, but that doesn't matter. In the end, Aisles has offered a very good album that has led them to international success, and now I am eagerly waiting to see them live next Progtoberfest in Chicago.

Enjoy it!

memowakeman | 4/5 |

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