Review Summary: Aurora is a great Australian alternative rock album that will leave you with a smile on your face and also leave you wondering why you had never heard of Antiskeptic before.1 of 1 thought this review was well written
If you are reading this review, chances are that you have never heard of Antiskeptic and are only reading out of curiosity due to spotting the review on the front page of Sputnik. One thing I will convey to you immediately is that you have been missing out. Antiskeptic, an Australian alternative rock band from Australia, are a talented three piece group who provide a mix of energetic and tempered alternative rock songs interspersed with catchy choruses, unique hooks and uplifting messages that leave you with a smile on your face.
Aurora is Antiskeptic's second full release album and personally the only album of theirs I have listened to. Aurora's introductory track "Dawn" provides a pleasant instrumental opening before "Clear To Pass" hits you with up tempo guitar riffs that immediately make you sit up and take notice. "Clear To Pass" gives the listener a taste of what is to come on the album, both sound wise and lyrically, with messages about faith strewn throughout the lyrics. These messages of faith enhance the meaning of the lyrics while at the same time being subtle enough for the listener to not feel as if it is being forced upon them.
Lead singer and guitarist Andrew Kitchener's voice is also immediately upon display, showcasing his high range that is used throughout the album. Personally, I believe Kitchener's voice complements Antiskeptic's alternative rock verging on pop rock sound and isn't on the too high side, however if you aren't a fan of high voiced lead singers it may begin to grate after a whole album. The heaviest track on the album, "Nothing To Say", makes use of guest singer Jeremy Wright for the chorus, and his screamo type voice provides a good contrast with Kitcheners., This coupled with heavy distorted guitar work and strong drumming creates one of the best tracks on the album.
"Nothing To Say" also points to the target audience of Antiskeptic being predominantly school age teenagers with lyrics such as
so you're young
well that's alright
no matter who you are
and don't believe that there's
nothing to say
nothing to say
While this is the case it doesn't mean that Antiskeptic can't be enjoyed by older listeners. It also does not point to them being lyrically weak; maybe with the exception of "Goodbye, Goodnight", rather they aren't doing anything unique or outstanding. In fact, there are lyrical moments, seemingly simple, on the album that reach out, grab you and make you really think, such as in "Breathe Into"
live what you learn
and what your mind needs
you'll find it well
"Breathe Into" is also the only track on the album where any real instrument experimentation occurs, through the use of violins, creating one of the catchiest intros on the album and aiding in making "Breathe Into" one of Aurora's most enjoyable tracks. Speaking of enjoyable tracks, the whole album is generally enjoyable with no really poor songs that leave you thinking "filler".
Other notably outstanding tracks on Aurora include "Clear To Pass", "Nothing To Say" for its heaviness and change of singing style on the chorus, "More Than Kind", "Road and Travel" and especially "Tried My Wings". "Tried My Wings" is the most unique and possibly the best track on the album. Its introductory guitar work catches your attention immediately and leads you into a soft, enticing track with an immensely catchy chorus, which when put together with Kitchener's singing creates a surprising and satisfying change of pace in the middle of the album.
All in all, Antiskeptic have created an album that has no glaring weak points, yet at the same time does not break the new ground lyrically or musically that is required to make an album hit that excellent or classic mark. Having said that, Aurora is still a great album and very much worth a listen for anyone interested in sampling new bands and albums of an alternative rock nature.
(This is my first review, and I don't proclaim to have a great deal of technical music knowledge, so any constructive criticism would be great!)