new music: stream the stripped down garage blues of aligns’ ‘love in the air’ #soundcheck

November 10, 2014

There’s always been a certain appeal to the two-piece band. Many of the great songwriters are duos (Lennon/McCartney, Rodgers and Hart, Rodgers and Edwards…), and all you really need is a melody and a rhythm to make music. In the grand tradition of bands like The White Stripes and Local H comes Brooklyn’s Aligns. This psychedelic garage band meshes dirty blues riffs with proggier aspirations on their full length ‘Love In The Air’.

By Nathan Leigh, AFROPUNK Contributor

From the opening strains of ‘Blues Under The Water,’ the band establishes its stripped down electric blues bona fides. With a riff that’s just a slight tempo shift away from sludge, guitarist Jacques Barbot and Mark Bell show an easy lived-in chemistry. Production wisely focuses on a you-are-in-the-room documentary style, highlighting their interplay over polish. Bell’s lazy backbeat owes something to ?uestlove’s uncanny ability to always be almost-but-not-quite behind the beat. “Fight The War” stands out as the band’s best in their down-and-dirty garage mold.

It’s the back half of the album when they let their psych flag fly that Aligns really come alive. Starting with ‘Vending Machine,’ the band opens up some space, and that phantom bass player starts to do his thing. Barbot and Bell clearly have a lot of musical chemistry, and there’s something to letting them open up and play off each other in ‘The City’ that’s more real and more exciting than all their 2 minute garage jams. The record ends with ‘Love In The Air (Reprise),’ a stripped down ballad that opens the production to vocal effects and ambiance, and showcasing unexpected Filter influences. Though Aligns is built on the stripped down riffage of Barbot and Bell, it’s clear that the spaces between their riffs are wear the magic happens.