Crank this to 9 of 11 - Editor's Pick
Genre: Indie, Post-Hardcore
Sounds Like: JIRM, Brand New, Manchester Orchestra
After a fair amount of deliberation and consultation amongst the team at Rotation11 we have decided to move forward with granting 'Editor's Pick' status to Aloke's latest album Alive. The controversy at hand is the fact that we have an issue with one song on the terrific LP. Let us expand further on the issue. Below is the track listing along with our respective ratings by song :
Track Listing With Ratings out of 11:
1. Head On A String (8.5)
2. Old Lady (3.0)
3. Unforgettable Mess (7.0)
4. We're Strangers Now (10.0)
5. Gold Coast (10.0)
6. Interlude 1 (8.5)
7. Hard Day At Work (9.5)
8. Married On A Farm (10.0)
9. Unresolved (9.0)
10. Interlude 2 (8.5)
11. Don't Fail Me Now (9.0)
12. Interlude 3 (9.0)
(average rating = 8.5)
Let us cut to the chase, the issue is track 2 "Old Lady". This track is so out of place from a stylistic, lyrical, and overall mood-setting standpoint. Not only is the track a bit painful on the ear, it is so poorly placed within the album. Typically what we deem to be experimental or 'fuck around' tracks, placement later in the album may be better served (e.g. track 9 or 10). "Old Lady" however is placed as the second track and really impacts the expectations of the listener after coming off such a solid track as "Head On a String". So although our rating is lower, we are bumping things up to a 9.0 simply because tracks four through twelve are so brilliant.
Aloke hails (hailed) from New York City and was originally formed in 2004 and disbanded in 2009. During this time frame the band released a live album along with several EPs. During this time farm they recorded close to twenty tracks some of which were never formally released. Lead singer Christian Zucconi went on to form the popular band Grouplove which interestingly enough utilized several of the tracks on this album incorporating into their own style. Nearly ten years later, the band found a well advised new direction and home with The End Records a terrific label that has now released the albumAlive.
Alive is a majestic and melodic masterpiece (minus tracks two and three). Zucconi's vocals are extremely compelling and the band mixes in the perfect amount of echo to resonate deep into the listeners psyche. The lyrics are quite intriguing mixing in very realistic life experiences. There are a variety of moments throughout the album which are very heartfelt causing you pause and the desire to share with others. The band clearly has a chemistry that was overlooked and perhaps is coming to realization slowly by the public. Check-out the poignant and emotional appeal in "We're Strangers Now" and "Gold Coast". The emotion and sensational melodic guitar are blended perfectly. "Gold Coast" shifts very dramatically into intimate storytelling that reminds us of Manchester Orchestra meets Passenger. The catchy track "Married On a Farm" is an absolute delight. We found this track reverberating within our minds throughout the day. The track is so sonically pleasing that the simplistic theme of getting married on a farm truly resonate and cause us to paint mental images of Zucconi's story telling. Tracks four through twelve in our view are so tightly intertwined and fit so well together. We can equate some of the synergy and emotion within these tracks to our former Album of 2014 -Spirit Knifeby the masterful Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus (worth your visiting if you have not had the chance to hear).
To be frank, we are a bit unclear on how active Aloke is at the moment. From our FaceBook research it appears the band is playing shows in hopes of celebrating the release, but we are hoping they are working on formally touring and putting their energies together to put forth some new material. Regardless, we strongly recommend you pick this album up and perhaps create a little buzz for an Aloke resurgence. 7/21/2015
Standout Tracks:Gold Coast, Head On a String, Married On a Farm