Aloha - Some Echoes (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Aloha

Aloha: Some Echoes

Some Echoes (2006)

Polyvinyl


4.5
With Here Comes Everyone, Aloha brought a warm, encircling sort of pop feeling to songs like "Boys in the Bathtub," "Water Your Hands," and a harder rocking sense to opener "All the Wars" and closer "Goodbye to the Factory." The album seemed to be a bit of a departure from Sugar, where the band seem...

With Here Comes Everyone, Aloha brought a warm, encircling sort of pop feeling to songs like "Boys in the Bathtub," "Water Your Hands," and a harder rocking sense to opener "All the Wars" and closer "Goodbye to the Factory." The album seemed to be a bit of a departure from Sugar, where the band seemed to refine their blend of indie rock with their unique sense of melody and instrumentation, getting slight comparisons to prog-rock due to their use of time signatures and syncopation...

And why shouldn't it have been a slight departure from their original sound? It was their first album with newly recruited TJ Lipple, the multi-instrumentalist that took over the marimba duty as well as playing the mellotron and even taking over the drums from virtuoso Cale Parks on a few tracks, allowing him to play piano.

And now, in 2006, Aloha gives us Some Echoes, the second offering with Lipple. And, as the band has tend to have done in the past, the band's sound has again shifted. The angular guitar of singer Tony Cavallario has taken a backseat to the overall melody, allowing the marimba, keys, and bass to mesh into one smooth harmony that seems to swerve in and out, up and down, paying tribute to dynamics as well as time signature.

The album starts with "Brace Your Face," building from a soft drum part from Parks to a moving marimba line and soft guitar and doubled vocals featuring Cavallario's rich vocals with falsetto layered on top. The song builds until at the end when the mellotron comes in, sounding like an organ part from an old hymn. And that theme continues throughout the whole album, playing upon darker melodies than the more upbeat Here Comes Everyone. "Your Eyes," the third track features Parks' Copeland-esque polyrhythms with a poppier key line, forming a bridge between Some Echoes and past albums.

"Ice Storming," "Between the Walls," and "If I Lie Down," are all keyed-down tracks, playing on, well, melodic keyboard lines to move them with solid foundations provided by Matthew Gengler's bass. On "Between the Walls," the most recognizable line from the album comes in for the chorus: "Are we dying, as in dead, or are we being born again?" This line seems to permeate the album's attitude shift towards slightly darker subject matter and the gothic overtones of the hymn-like mellotron. The energy from "All the Wars" and "Goodbye to the Factory" seems to have been channeled into the tracks "Weekend" and "Summer Lawn," the previous being perhaps the closest Aloha gets to mimmicking the upbeat "Boys in the Bathtub" and the latter being the most aggressive track the band has attempted, featuring constantly moving drums, bass, guitar, and mellotron.

The album closes with "Mountain," which seems to be the climax that the rest of the album has been bubbling up to. Starting with an extremely uptempo bass and hi-hat sort of dance beat, the mellotron comes in as the driving force of the song, full out announcing itself as a rejoicing sort of modern hymn. Gengler's bass carries the low end of the song, bringing depth to the upbeat mellotron, switiching between mirroring the chord progression to leading it. And the lyrics bring out the final attitude of the album, turning semi-mournful full-length into something positive to walk away with:

One more layer of love is piled on / We're making a mountain / You could never dig a grave / Big enough for all of us
Upward ever, ever upward / We'll need a light on top to hase the planes away / but the birds can stay forever
We're on the fringe again / Grining bright in the moonlight / We're on the outside / Growing bright in the moonlinght, alright / Go with us into the night
A new layer of love is piled on / We're just getting warm / You could never build a jail strong enough to keep us apart
Upward ever, ever upward / We'll need a light out front to tell the left behind / that it's alright
And it's those parting, heartfelt, simplistic words that leave you with an all-around good feeling that makes you want to start the album all over again.