Based on three simple factors ~ how often I’ve played this album, how loudly I’ve played this album, and how much I’ve enjoyed listening to this album ~ I believe I have already found my album of the summer. I’m not sure how much my neighbors have enjoyed this album, or how much those next to me in traffic have enjoyed this album (probably less), but they’re not the ones writing this review!
Waking Aida‘s discography includes three EPs, a live track and a remix. Combined, they would have been long enough to form a solid LP. But this London band decided to forego the easy route, instead preparing an entirely new batch of songs for Eschaton. So now we’ve got two hours of Waking Aida. Everybody wins!
On the surface, Eschaton is post-rock, but it also incorporates math rock and a tiny bit of progressive rock (perhaps 1/8 teaspoon). Relentlessly upbeat, continuously jamming, and stuffed with surprises, it makes for a wonderful 50-minute drive. While it also sounds good on a home stereo, this album is built for speed. Nearly every song here gets into a groove, then shifts gears, often more than once. “Incandenza” starts in second, shifts to first, lowers to third, adds an encouraging monologue then sprouts wings like a S.H.I.E.L.D. vehicle and launches into the sky. This sets up “How to Build a Space Station”, which benefits from a late-track glockenspiel boost and is one of two tracks to include violin. The other, “Your Tiny Voice Is Booming”, also includes cello; its rousing finale makes it the highlight of an album packed with highlights.
“Time Travel With Friends” has a great summer vibe, with melodic guitar lines and happy handclaps. “Glow Coin” was already groovy in its original form, but a post-release remix from edapollo (whose Shallow Swell we reviewed earlier this year) amplifies its finger-snapping spirit of fun. (Check it out below.) Look, there’s ice cream on the cover! Wouldn’t you like some ice cream? Wouldn’t you like to get in your car, crank some Waking Aida, and get some ice cream right now? Back in a minute.
Waking Aida has been building up to this moment for years. They have always been good, but now they’re great. Did I mention that t-shirts are available as well? Way to go, lads. (Richard Allen)