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Album Review: Aficionado - Aficionado

‘How many times can we walk down the same old roads? At some point we need to break free of monotony and make some new roads’ – This excerpt from Aficionado’s bio is a perfect example of what this band is all about.

Even their label: No Sleep Records; preaches this musical revolution, flying the flag of originality, and displaying what it truly means to be an independent label, proudly playing host to hip-hop, hardcore and indie acts all under one roof.

It should be no surprise then that even in the first few seconds of opening track: ‘The Things You Like’, scores of influences are revealed and a plethora of creativity is unleashed.

The chord changes and pivoting drum beats are both unexpected and pleasant and the quirky atmosphere they can create with simple diversity is nothing short of incredible. There are guitar harmonies, piano intervals and drum patterns that can fit any and every genre, from the indie-like styling of the aforementioned opener, to the almost Rise Against-esque pre-chorus of ‘Stir Like Hell’, a pre-chorus that leads into an incredible organ-backed climax.

If At The Drive-In, Cursive and The Hold Steady were among any band’s influences you would be pushed to not be curious, and what this band proves is that their capacity for diversity and musical elegance goes even beyond these bands, beyond bands like The Mars Volta and more potent than any of those previously mentioned in an industry that often struggles with originality, far beyond any of their contemporaries. ‘Honesty’ in particular breaks the genre boundaries between the many layers of sediment rock has gathered over the years.

There are elements of everything from The Ramones to Thin Lizzy to My Chemical Romance and the marriage between these varying entities appears to be far from heading towards divorce, especially considering the powerful, complementary vocals of Nick Warchol and Laura Carrozza. Now I’m a vocal harmony addict and even I would go as far as to say that this particular pairing is about as good as they come. Listen to ‘Falsified Information’ for instance and to ‘Permanent’ for a heartbreaking group vocal that brings the heavily acoustic track to an almost orgasmic climax.

I could truly go on forever about this album, having come into the review somewhat skeptical and emerging as Aficionado’s newest fan, I can proudly profess that there are many layers to this album that it will likely never get old, each song contains so many musical Easter eggs that this record is guaranteed to keep you hooked for years to come.


Edward Strickson

'Aficionado' is released July 26th on No Sleep Records.

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