Review Summary: Big ambitions from the valley
Leather jackets, shades and bailing hay make for a fun afternoon. What really makes a day special though is when, after the cows are all dried out: the music studio is still open. Local small town Pembroke band Aviation drops their debut EP with the ferocity of a first of July firework, with all the bright colours and loud noises but alike fireworks- sleek, expensive and individually forgettable.
Aviation play a brand of rock and roll that remembers the good old days where rock was hard, and cigarettes were all the rage. Their sound is quite loud, but has some nice production for an amateur band; every instrument can be heard quite clearly. The production has confidence and hides nothing in an all-out, rock out. The confidence however becomes a little shaky when it comes to the cautionary playing the band tends to utilize as a whole. The band likes rock and makes it clear but they do it within a set guideline, they have a goal to create an album- it is not that it comes across as procedural but that the band generally refuses to steer out of their safety zone. If you are looking for experimentation there is not much to be found here, save for a slow song or two and an all too familiar piano melody.
The safety leads to a lack of instrumental diversity, the album relies on repetitive sound structures and allows for cheap hooks and arena sized production to do the attention grabbing for them. This is mostly a problem for the guitar and drums. While the bass brings great energy being one of the strongest components of the band, the guitar falls flat in this aspect especially when rock is supposed to be all about the big hooks and riffs. A few select riffs are handpicked and repeated, not showing off the true potential that the guitarist has. It is almost painful, as it is easy to tell the guitarist is holding from showing off the skills he has. The guitar keeps it simple and in this can become monotonous but it is the interplaying with the drums in combination that makes the duo nothing but tiresome. The cymbals are abused to absolutely no end, basically crashing a few times every time a guitar note ends in order to create a catchy beat. When the speed is increasing simple patterns and heavy use of the bass drum is used and when the peak is reached the cymbals unleash until the cows come home. Not only are the drums stylistically annoying but are also oddly loud in the mix (especially the cymbals which can become quite distracting at times). The drumming skill can differ greatly among songs, ranging from the cool psychedelic feel brought on in ‘Dreamer’ to the atrocious awkwardness found in ‘The Modern Day’.
On the other side of the fence are the vocalist and bassist both of which are quite strong members and pull more than their fair share of weight. Dylan Liedtke has an incredible rock voice, that is very powerful, smooth but with just enough git-er-done to make this rock album feel fulfilling in a big way. The bassist, Nathan Thompson, brings hard jams- although not too diverse, has a nice tone, and hits hard. The guitar may be the lowest instrument in the mix but they are just fine keeping the bass as the centre of their jams. The bass compliments more for the style they are going for in making big, catchy romps rather than impressive tunes, albeit their current format for sounding big is just a bit too easy and uninspired. Ultimately this band is young and has a long way to go. It is interesting to see where they will go from here, and if they decide to unleash their potential who knows they may bring their big rock to the big stage.