Aloha have always inhabited their own space within the indie rock continuum. They play around with jazz, pop, and post-rock in a way that aligns them with the foundational Midwest emo bands that also call Polyvinyl their label home, but Aloha’s approach is softer and lighter, plaintive rather than explosive. Beauty is prized over howling catharsis. Rather than bashed out in a basement, their music always seems to have been meticulously crafted in a studio — or, like, a laboratory decked out with an array of synths, guitars, and melodic percussion.
Yet for all their craftsmanship, a gentle yearning is what shines through the most on Little Windows Cut Right Through. Aloha’s first album in six years is a sighing dispatch from dudes who aren’t kids anymore — as in, they know damn well what they’re doing, but they also have a lot of self-reckoning to do. The title refers to frontman Tony Cavallario’s repeated attempts to write in character only to find himself staring back from the lyric sheet. His vivid introspection is surrounded by moody arrangements inspired by early ’80s prog, when texture returned to the forefront as a corrective to arena-rock bloat. Yet for all the references to complex, heady nerd-out music, there’s a feel of easygoing AM radio rock in there too, a gentle and approachable quality that eases you into Aloha’s world.
As we’ve heard on early singles “Signal Drift,” “Faraway Eyes,” and “Don’t Wanna Win,” it’s a fascinating and rewarding approach. Now experience it spread out over the course of a full album by streaming Little Windows Cut Right Through below.
Aloha have some tour dates this fall:
09/22 Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Tavern
09/23 Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall
10/07 Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel
10/08 Brooklyn, NY @ Baby’s All Right
Little Windows Cut Right Through is out 5/6 on Polyvinyl. Pre-order it here.