A while back, I heard the title track from “4:45am” by Chilean prog rockers Aisles. The song is so damn catchy and upbeat. Honestly, the song is irresistible. So going into the album, I assumed that the whole album would be similarly catchy and relentlessly upbeat. Well, that’s what happens with prog. If you assume one thing, you are going to get another.
While nothing else on “4:45am” approaches the perfect accessibility of the title track, the album does showcase a band that is unwilling to be pigeonholed. “Gallarda Yarura” is an instrumental with a very cinematic vibe to it. Considering this is a bit of a concept album, that makes sense. It features plenty of melody and great playing.
“Shallow and Daft” is the first real left turn of the album. It has an 80s synth-pop vibe. Catchy? Sure is. Just not what you’d expect after the first two tracks. “Back my Strength” is a ballad that is well-sequenced on the album. “The Sacrifice” is a quiet acoustic track that really slows things down even more. I am not sure I like having it right after the ballad and I don’t really care for the end of the song.
“The Ship” is nothing more than a brief intermission with the sound of waves. Ironically, it is followed by a song called “Intermission.” The song has a repetitive and quite annoying keyboard part throughout that the band play over top of. It stops as the song slows down and starts to wander a bit but unfortunately it starts back up again. Sorry but this track gets skipped every time.
“Sorrow” has world music vibe to it. It’s cool but the vocals get really loud for some reason. Considering the song is basically acoustic, I am not sure why that happens. Not thrilled with it. “Hero” is a cool instrumental that is quite prog and like “Gallarda Yarura” has a cinematic feel to it. The album closes with the 10 minute workout “Melancholia” which really takes a while to get going. It’s not quite as epic as I was hoping for.
Aisles are a talented band that value melody and pop sensibility, but often seem like they are fighting their greatest strength which is writing a catchy song. I would have preferred more songs like the title track because that’s what Aisles does best. Yes, the instrumentals work well too but had this album been more focused, it could have been amazing.
2. Gallarda Yarura
3. Shallow and Daft
4. Back my Strength
5. The Sacrifice
6. The Ship