Aerial “Why Don’t They Teach Heartbreak At School?”
With all the recent excitement about Irish band Pugwash’s recent US tour, I want to bring to attention a power pop trio from Aberdeen, Scotland called Aerial. They roll out of the gate with the forceful “Cartoon Eyes, Cartoon Heart,” reminding me of both The New Pornographers and Weezer. The title track is another winner, a lighter pop approach similar to Fountains of Wayne about the drama of teenage heartbreak. The follow up “Japanese Dancer” is a fast paced riff centered melody that you’ll want to hear over and over again. The slower, romantic “Every Word You Say” keeps the dense guitars in place and the hits keep on coming.
“Great Teenager” is an excellent song about never growing up and wanting to retreat into that world, “It may be ten years later, but I’d make a great teenager.” The vocal harmonies and beat have more than a little Beach Boys DNA here. The narrative continues, as the grown up who knows life is tough all over in “More Than Alcohol,” and these stories all fit together seamlessly. Each song is great, no loose ends either as “Dear Anna” is a modern version of Pet Sounds “Caroline, No.” I could go on, but its safe to say that this one of the best albums of the year, and makes my big 2014 list. Kool Kat Musik has an exclusive 4 demo additional CD included.
The Well Wishers “A Shattering Sky”
Well Wishers frontman Jeff Shelton is like the Energizer bunny… he just keeps going! And after 6 albums he’s still cranking out excellent music. The dense wall of Rickenbacker guitars that are part of Shelton’s signature sound return, starting with the catchy opener “Vincennes” a rousing anthem that’s sure to get you playing the air guitar.
“Shelia” is another winner with its danceable chorus. Another great highlight is the alt-country gem “Right Here at Last” with an assist by Bradley Skaught of Bye Bye Blackbirds. Shelton’s consistency is reassuring to fans, as he varies the approach enough to keep things from getting too predictable. “Goodbye” is another jangling gem. Fans of REM, Bob Mould and The Spinning Jennies will love this. Super Highly Recommended.