Electro, the latest CD from Aalacho, re-examines the sounds of new wave and electro-pop, mixing synths, rock guitars and vocals.
Aalacho is made up of Nathan Scott, who handles synths, guitars, vocals and programming. He’s joined on this CD by guitarists Sam McIlvain, Chris “Reemus” Brown & Derek Armstrong; and vocalists Joe Randazzo, Trevor Hesse and Sarah Severson.
Scott’s tracks are fairly minimal electro-pop, but with an unusual amount of guitar work. Synths and drum machines frame out the tracks, and provide the base for the vocals from Scott and his guest vocalists. The prominent guitar work, though, helps give Aalacho’s music its own identify.
The first track, Pompeii, is a little underwhelming in its original form. The energy builds a little with the second track, Lift. Lift is an instrumental track that emphasizes the interplay between synths and guitars.
Ticket to Ride is an interesting take on The Beatles’ original. It’s done at a much slower tempo, and with a detached new wave attitude. Scott’s arrangement takes the track into electro-pop territory, and gives it a bit of an Indian vibe, It successfully re-imagines the original, but the comparison also exposes some of Scott’s limitations as a vocalist.
Things heat up a little with the last three tracks, I’ll Climb You, It’s Not About Love, and Atomic Playboy. These tracks have faster tempos, and push the guitars to the front. The combination of electro sounds and guitar work is refreshing, and adds interest to these cuts. The guitar work sounds like it would be at home on an Allman Brothers or Doobie Brothers album from the 70’s. It sounds so out of place with the synth backing, but, somehow, it works.
The CD ends with a nice remix of Pompeii by Felix da Housecat. The remix gives the track a steady beat and emphasizes the darker aspects of the original. Ironically, the remix is one of the most electro sounding cuts on the album.
Aalacho has done a lot of things right with Electro. The CD has great packaging; the design is top-notch and it ties in perfectly with the electro concept. The inclusion of the Felix da Housecat mix of Pompeii provides a club-friendly track for the DJs.
Nevertheless, Electro is a bit of a mixed bag. Scott’s approach, emphasizing the guitars within an electronica context, has a lot of potential. Some better hooks or killer vocal performances would have helped the tracks realize that potential.
- Ticket to Ride
- I’ll Climb You
- .It’s not about love
- Atomic Playboy
- Pompeii (Felix da Housecat Mix)