Featuring members of Simian Ghost, No Coda and Alpha Mound, Swedish collaborators Aerial have produced the perfect and uniquely Aerial mix of post-rock sincerity and an almost poppy/singalong songwriting style. ‘Put It This Way In The Headlines’ is a chillingly atmospheric record with all the visual depth and power of bands like God Speed You Black Emperor, Tortoise or Mogwai.
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An open field of sonics, this one: we could call it post-rock but we’d be cheapening Aerial's concerted efforts to create a landscape on which anything can be expressed, in any way. It is post-rock, yes, but not in the way we know it; not because of sick guitar tones, although there are those, nor climaxes -- again, though, check that off the list. It’s post-rock because it assimilates a bunch of your favourite bands, sounds and textures and tries to carry them lovingly over the fence. It sounds a little Death Cab, totally Built to Spill, momentarily Mount Eerie, and I’ll relent and say these dudes know a thing or two about Explosions In The Sky. But not too much! Never too much; ‘Put It This Way In Headlines’ is just a sweet indie rock record taking the next furthest step away from home.
Aerial’s double LP is driven, first and foremost, by a warm vocal performance: Sebastian Arnström’s pleading nasal pitch recalls both Douch Marsch and Ben Gibbard, reliable singers who hummed their feeling out to us. Behind him he’s got a band who understand the importance of clarity and desperation in equal measure; they go back and forth, trading a forest of acoustic strums for slightly distorted guitars and spontaneous, woozy synths. Their main focus is squeezing their instruments of all their emotive juices, which: good. We need that.
There are some post-rock hallmarks in here, and they work in the band’s favour -- suppressed samples from what sound like educational after-school specials appear, but only for seconds on “In Our Wake”. And while there are a lot of moments where the band up the ante and start building songs like post-rock skyscraper dudes -- such as on “Zebra”, which has hints of a more crystalline Jaga Jazzist -- this is by no means a tragic, self-involved record. There’s a song on here called “Malkmus In The Middle” -- you know what I mean? Closer “Guitar Ode To A Sunny Afternoon” is their most fanciful moment, a long-form exchange of varying guitar twinkles that sounds both suppressed and echoed, full of bends and pull-offs and interlocking. You have to let them have it, because they calibrate it quite perfectly, bringing it down with vocals to sound more akin to Broken Social Scene than anything. It’s a cheeky sign off to a very impressive piece of secret post-rock.
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- Put It This Way In The Headlines by Aerial
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