Aquilo, ii (Side B) EP - album review
Aquilo have become experimentalists in more ways than one.
As well as their sweeping bedroom creations via the laptops of the everyday working man, they are coming up with new ways of handling their releases in the digital streaming age.
Take this, for example, their second full-length record. Trying to take advantage of the smaller bite-size chunks people often purchase their music in these days the Lake District natives decided to split the album in half and release it in two parts.
The first, ii (Side A) EP came last autumn, with this - ii (Side B) EP following on and completing the collection.
That first half was a little dull at times, it has to be said. Soft and touching tunes, yes, but with little leaving first gear it soon became a bit of a drag to listen to from start to finish.
Luckily, while still not ripping up any trees, this second collection holds a bit more life within its bones to lift it above the realms of bland white noise its predecessor inhabited.
The chief of all is the happy and upbeat Seagull. Allowing the verses to build to a punchy, 60s rock-esque chorus is a wise move indeed. The finished article sounds like the start of an adventure between friends. Like My Girl or Hunt For The Wilderpeople or maybe even Lord Of The Rings if you removed the constant feeling of impending death.
Silent Movies plays it more like Side A did - mournful and careful. While still holding a little bit more of a kick it does meander a little too far past dreamy and into the realms of queasy at times.
We don't want to sound overly critical, but unless you are quite happy to play this as background music while completing other tasks there may be little to keep you hooked, even with just five tracks to sit through.
If you like it slow and steady then dive right in. But ii will mean coasting from start to finish if you do.
Aquilo play at Birmingham's O2 Institute 3 on Monday, April 16