AM Aesthetic are a three-piece alternative rock band hailing from New York, recently named ‘Discovery of the Week’ by the influential Last.fm and finding themselves garnering increasing radio play. Having released acclaimed EPs in 2009 and 2012, as well as a couple of songs from this album, this full-length debut is highly anticipated. Their music melds various influences like heavy-riffing rock bands such as Queens Of The Stone Age and Royal Blood, whilst being vocally reminiscent of The Strokes and The Black Keys.
The heavier influences manifest on their opening track ‘In Demand’, a powerful slab of surging alt. rock with Rob Sucheki’s distorted vocals intoning “We all want everything, but we’ll take anything at all…” on the memorable chorus. There is a meaty riff in the middle that you can imagine the moshpit loving when they play it live and it starts the album off strongly. The second song ‘I Can Tell’ has a more commercial feel with a catchy see-saw lead riff and a simple hook that sticks in the mind after one listen. It shows their ability to structure and craft a song, and understandably it is the lead-off single from the album.
The third track ‘The End’ is more mid-paced with a deliciously brooding Teen Spirit-esque bassline from Pat Raimondi coupled by alternating, chiming and jagged guitars. The chorus again has a simple hook (‘This is how the end gets told…’) aided by a haunting backing vocal. It also features a ripping guitar solo, showcasing Suchecki’s considerable playing ability (he is highly in demand as a session player). The solo seems to have been needlessly discarded in a lot of recent rock, so it’s nice to hear it done well here. The forth song ‘Weightless’ is a sinister and brooding track, containing pleasurable piano chords and sprawling distorted guitars that create kind of sonic velvet backdrop for the vocals that become progressively amplified, especially on the chorus.
The fifth song ‘We Caught Fire’ has an immediacy that marks it out as an obvious single. The verse has a Kings of Leon feel, bursting into a chorus with a Strokes-esque melody, though the lyrics are more Springsteen: “We caught fire, burned down the Western coast…we drove all night, kept to the desert road“. It has the anthemic quality that a band needs in order to become huge, in our opinion. Following this, the relatively gentle ‘Touch The Sky’ (Kittinger Complex) acts as a calm become the storm of seventh track ‘The Easy Life.’
Starting with a demonic guitar riff that should have Josh Homme seething with envy, the song has an excellent quiet/loud dynamic and a superb short and effective hook: “The easy life is a simple slide away…”. It’s an exhilarating listen and my personal favourite on the album. Special credit should go to the drumming of RJ Dowhan who contributes some blistering fills and fires the music along. Track eight ‘Life Of The Party’ is another anthemic mid-paced song with an understated but memorable chorus, and some gorgeous guitar work towards the end.
‘Ghost In The Machine’ is the longest track on the album at over five minutes, and is the darkest song lyrically, with a suitably bleak soundscape encasing it. It is a slow-burning epic, gradually building to a powerful chorus. This is contrasted nicely by ‘Doubled Over’, a surging fast-paced rocker that injects some energy and excitement into the album, one of the more instant songs here. ‘Only Sunrise’ adds some rhythmic variation being in a lilting 6/8 time signature, and is one of the lighter, poppy moments on the album.
‘Losing’ is another solid piece of alt. rock though perhaps doesn’t stamp its sonic identity as well as most of the other tracks, and doesn’t feel as vital, but it’s still an enjoyable listen. Closing track ‘Sunshine’ is a moody, low-key finale that is perhaps the most modern sounding with its use of electronic sounds and atmospherics. Lyrically, it’s about the need to escape the humdrum of everyday life: “Can I get away? Need a little sunshine on my face….”
Overall, this is a consistently excellent modern rock album with no real weak links in the chain. AM Aesthetic combine the anthemic and commercial aspects of stadium rock like The Killers and Kings of Leon with the heavier elements of bands like QOTSA to produce a potent sound that has considerable across the board appeal and they are tailor made for American radio, in particular. We expect them to become as successful as any of those bands in the near future.
Stream the album below and check out Future Tense on iTunes:
Produced by: AM Aesthetic
Mixed by: Jeremy Cimino Mastered by: Carl Rowhatti
A&R: Shane Galvin
Executive Producers: Dick Wingate, Christian Cedras, Krista Retto
Label: BHi Music Group | Publisher: Little Big House Music (BMI)
US & Canada Distribution: Caroline