Ashes Ashes - Aries (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Ashes Ashes

Aries (2008)


Ashes Ashes are the emo equivalent of water: tasteless. Vaguely angsty, vaguely Christian, vaguely rocking, vaguely ambient. The group's sound never pushes or pulls the listener in any one direction, making for a safe, unchallenging record. You could just as easily listen to nothing for 37 minutes. It's about as involved, and probably more evocative.

The group's 2008 full-length debut, Aries, is inoffensive and unremarkable in every conceivable way. The cover art is all simple blues and blacks, the back cover boasts five indistinctly "emo" kids. Even the titles will fade from one's memory within minutes. "Castles"? "Airplane"? They could all be called "Vanilla."

Bad album design can be forgiven to an extent, though. Aries was self-released. The music's what really matters, and, at best, Ashes Ashes can be described as a Drive-Thru Records act post-Geffen pillage. If you think Houston Calls or Socratic are, like, totally awesome, then maybe Ashes Ashes might appeal to you. Me though, I can't get behind this record at all. The 10 tracks blend into a formless, effects pedal-laden blob. The hooks are barely there, revealing a band still very much in its beginning phases. Same goes for the lyrics; they're not Secondhand Serenade-terrible, but they certainly are cookie cutter ("Searching in the wrong direction when all you had to was look me in the eye, and she said…" from "White Lights" comes to mind, but just barely). Even the vocal hiccups are bland. How do you do that? Are you doing that on purpose? Knock it off!

I'm not trying to harsh on Ashes Ashes' mellow. The dudes and dudette in the band just need to go out, get more life experience and maybe find some pre-2005 influences. Ya'll heard of them that thar Promise Rings? Howsabout them Discounts?