Aisles - 4:45 am

Aisles – 4:45 AM

Aisles are a Chilean prog rock band formed a number of years ago and 4:45 am is their third release, issued in 2013 that somehow seems to have slipped through the net. They cite the usual stalwarts as their influences, some shine through, but on the whole this is quite a distinct identity for Aisles. Now as a connoisseur of good wine, I know Chile produces some nice bottles and not just a one size fits all chardonnay. In those terms, this is one of the quality wines.

4:45 am, the album title track opens the proceedings with a nod to Rush and if you are not a fan of Geddy Lee’s vocals verging on falsetto at times, you may find this more palatable. Very radio friendly, particularly I would imagine for the mid-American rock stations.

Gallarda Yarura follows, an instrumental track which is a nice piece, feeling like a bridge from a far longer song, and despite wondering what lyrics would befit this track, it has a really nice mood about it. It segues into the next track Shallow and Daft, which seems to have been written with one eye on radio play – it’s a good middle of the road track that just seems to lose a little pace towards the end. I do like it, but it is just another piece of background AOR radio friendly rock. If that was its purpose then it deserves more success. A bit eighties, nineties, I would have to go back and listen for references, but Talk Talk springs to mind.

So far, so good, there are enough progressive elements in the music to hold your attention, but also enough populist styling for the band to get or deserve more airplay. Long progressive tracks do seem to have a way of alienating themselves from being heard on mass radio – sad – but their loss.

Back My Strength is more rock styled and very different from the previous track. It is more Asia like, but also fairly distinct. I did expect more of a Latin feel, and as we progress you will see that there is some, but not perhaps as much as I thought there would be. And The Sacrifice is the first track with what I would say has a Latin feel to it, with progressive elements and key changes, a nice ballad with acoustic guitar. This is an album that grows with repeated listens, you want to pigeonhole it, but just can’t quite find a reference to what it’s like.

Next up is a brief interlude of nautical sounds; The Ship, and given the brevity of the track not anything else to say really. It’s pleasant, relaxing, ticks a few boxes, but at 57 seconds this brief description took longer to type than the track to play.  Intermission, no that’s the track name, not an excuse for me to make another coffee. This starts off like incidental film music, Blade Runner written for now (Blasphemy!! Vangelis did the business and that still sounds great). It’s another nice instrumental and one I actually liked listening to in the bath – music is heard in every room in this house. Overall very much a movie piece, but pretty cool and interesting visuals could accompany this.

Sorrow is a nice track and not out of place for radio listening, a ballad with a hint of their Latin American origins here, achieved I think by the combination of acoustic and electric instrumentation. Kings of Leon spring to mind, odd really given that the Kings have a Latin lilt but originate from America’s mid-west. I don’t believe it is fair to cite KoL as an influence as this is a genuine South American band – so any claim to the sound is their own.

Another instrumental comes next and the band let the music flow again with subtle Rush like influences and a few others beside, but showing a love of interesting chord changes and time signatures. Hero; is a story told in music – a good piece and so far from the radio friendly tracks. Aisles seem to follow many passage ways, some of this reminds me of parts of Queen II, given Queen’s following in that area of the world, maybe I should not be surprised. And sadly we come to the last track, Melancholia, no I’m not overcome with grief – this is a beautiful track that emotes the title almost to perfection. One for the late evening compilation playlist, Slow KoL, I like KoL, but this track I like more and is my favourite from an intriguing and interesting album. The perfect wind down.

This has been a pleasure, only heard in MP3 format, I think I would recommend seeking out a hard copy to allow the full sonic display to be revealed.

14 March 2015, parcel from Chile care of the bands PR Alvaro Rojas, the hard copy, my suspicions are confirmed. The CD offers a much richer soundscape, seek out the CD gentle listeners.

Where can you get it? Available on import from the biggies, but you should also be able to seek it out at Burning Shed or The Merch Desk, where both outlets have the ability to trace the obscure, other outlets are no doubt available. Should you get it? It is a little different, ranging from Radio friendly to slightly indulgent but beautiful prog. The musicianship is excellent, and the vocals in English, balanced and well sung. Just as well given the limits of my Spanish “Dos cervezas, por favor”.

I’m glad I’ve heard this and I hope I get to hear their fourth album due out in 2016.

From their biog “Aisles are a progressive rock band from Santiago, Chile. They have been considered one of the most interesting acts of recent years, releasing three albums so far: the widely praised ‘The Yearning’ (2005) and ‘In Sudden Walks’ (2009), and ‘4:45AM’ (2013), which has been highly acclaimed by the genre’s most prestigious publications.Aisles’ music is characterized by its eclecticism, combining elements of progressive rock, art rock, fusion, and world music, drawing comparisons to Rush, Yes, Genesis, and Porcupine Tree, amongst others. The band has toured South America and Europe, and their albums have been published in Europe, United States, and Japan. In 2009 their second album, ‘In Sudden Walks’ was nominated for Best Foreign Record in the Italian Prog Awards and the band was invited to open the 11th Progressive Rock Festival Crescendo in France.”

Seems fair comment to me. Worthy of shelf space; or iPod for those trendy types! Back to the wine analogy, a very good vintage that should improve over time, and nicely refresh the palate.

01. 4:45am (4:06)
02. Gallarda Yarura (4:32)
03. Shallow And Daft (4:52)
04. Back My Strength (4:54)
05. The Sacrifice (5:08)
06. The Ship (0:57)
07. Intermission (5:02)
08. Sorrow (6:57)
09. Hero (8:11)
10. Melancholia (10:41)

Total Time (55:19)

Sebastián Vergara – Vocals
Rodrigo Sepúlveda- Guitars & Vocals
Germán Vergara – Guitars, Vocals & Keyboards
Juan Pablo Gaete – Keyboards
Daniel Baird-Kerr – Bass
Felipe Candia – Drums & Percussion

Record Label: Independent
Catalogue#: N/A
Year Of Release: 2013

Main Website: Aisles
Social Media: Facebook
Audio: Bandcamp