Review Summary: A new direction for Aereogramme, My Heart Has A Wish... is beautiful and pulsating with excellence. Strings, piano, and clean guitar take a prominent role on the album, and it makes a fresh, new sound.
Something tells me that this is not the album Aereogramme had in their minds when they went into the recording studio. Something had to give. Singer Craig B. had a terrible throat infection, affecting his voice in the same manner as more popular singer M. Shadows from Avenged Sevenfold. His ability to put on a raspy tinge and take the band into a world of Isis-like post-metal disappeared, and he was left with his equally apt clean vocals. The instrumental end of Aereogramme needed to accommodate to Craig’s new cripple, so instead of toning things down and making their music quieter and simpler, they made it more complex and gave it a brand new voice. Yes, Aereogramme is back with their first full-length in 4 years, but it is something brand new and completely unexpected.
After Sleep and Release, Aereogramme took to touring and various small recordings, such as a split with Isis and a short EP called Seclusion. Seclusion saw a very modern rock sound while the split EP with Isis saw the band playing with longer song lengths. My Heart Has a Wish… is neither of those nor is it a combination of the two. The songs are standard length, averaging between 4 and 6 minutes. This album rarely sees guitars with full distortion and it utilizes brand new instruments to create their melodies at times, most noticeably a string section and piano. This album is not edgy at all, it feels very cohesive and meticulous to detail, and it comes across as an extremely beautiful album. The new sound doesn’t sound new, it sounds as though the band has always done it and they’ve refined their formula to the point of perfection. The production on this album is flawless, everything is crystal clear and even in the album’s busiest moments, and everything can be heard at just the right level. Dynamic effects on this album, although the album never reaches Aereogramme’s old heaviness, are better than ever. Aereogramme has found a new low in dynamic level, and they’ve found their high in adding more instruments and more melodic activity rather than grunge-esque riffs.
Conscious Life for Coma Boy
represents a great summary of the album’s sound. It begins with delay guitar and some great falsetto from Craig. The album immediately shows that something new is here, through the chord progression, the style of Craig’s singing, and the instrumentation. The strings, as on the entire album, add tons of effect and drive the band through dynamic change after change. Everything presented on Conscious Life for Coma Boy
is to be expanded upon throughout the album, and it serves as a fantastic album opener in more ways than one. Piano, synth, and a great French horn section make their main appearance on Trenches
. The chords laid out by the French horns, played with incredible musicality; make an inspiring soundtrack to any movie, and the added regality from the toll of the bells keep a knot in your stomach even in the quietest of moments on the album. As the song progresses, more instruments add in, with the piano playing a more prominent part throughout. Nightmares
give the strings their full feature, with an epic yet simple riff that sounds all too familiar, mixed with other pizzicato strings behind it. The pizzicato adds tons of effect. Just before Aereogramme may have taken the song to a much heavier riff, the song cuts out, making it one of the most subtle on the album and beautiful.
My Heart Has a Wish That You Would Not Go presents all kinds of new sounds from Aereogramme, and some thing make a return in more subtle ways. The electronica keyboard style finds itself lending atmospheric effect on The Running Man
. The pounding, simple riffs that revolved around downbeats and heavy bass drum kicks are toned down, but still present, more noticeably on Living Backwards
. Vocalist Craig B. adapted to his injury almost instinctively, he may be a better singer because of it. His voice, which flies high in the range of Thom Yorke and Matt Bellamy, delicately falls in the mix of any instrumentation, never overpowering anything but always prominent and grabbing. His lyrics are just as great as his voice, with his melodies accenting the high points of his words. Despite how great the musicianship the album is, what makes the album so fantastic is the precision of the production on the album. Everything on the album was meant to happen; nothing is tentative. The only true flaw to the album is that the building technique of the band gets a bit tiring, because Aereogramme never lets anything sit and settle in. Everything is looking ahead to somewhere else, but nothing stays long enough.
Bands often face high expectations after putting such a long time between full length albums, and very few bands meet the expectations. Aereogramme is one of the few who met the expectations, through changing their sound and making a more thoroughly enjoyable product with extreme precision and beauty.
The Running Man