Aloa Input - Anysome
Anysome is the debut full-length album from German trio Aloa Input. Before even listening to the album, the title, even the band's name, should give some clues as to what you're in for. The idea of an 'anysome', seems to point fingers in every which way to the myriad of influences present on this album, ranging from The Postal Service, to Animal Collective, to Boards of Canada to Stereolab, etc, etc. Aloa Input has certainly crafted a unique sound for themselves, however, they control their tastes, and blend them into a surprisingly lush album.
Right off the bat, the album kicks off with a two-minute "Prelude" that seems like it could be the intro for a Panda Bear track, employing a soft, pulsing drum with soft keyboards and reversed samples. The second track, "Another Green World," (a tip of the hat to someone who's clearly influenced Aloa Input, Brian Eno, who's 1975 album shares the same name) is one of the most cleverly crafted on the album. The track bounces between a jang-ly guitar hook and a much more punk influenced chorus, adding in a slower more sweetly harmonized bridge, creating one of the more dynamically interesting tracks on the album. The second track, "Prblms" presents an equally catchy guitar driven ear worm. While the track is structured in a similar manner, the individual sounds are far more interesting, incorporating modulated guitars and funny little flute synths. The lyrics seem to be the most self-conscious on the album as well, "Cops won't make me feel safe anywhere," they lament, "A school won't teach you how to be yourself." If there is something Aloa Input deserves credit for, it's just this. They certainly don't seem to be relying on another source to 'teach them how to be themselves', but rather blend and incorporate their influences in an original manner.
Now perhaps the album is too long, or maybe they just run low on ideas towards the middle of the album, because unfortunately, the album as a whole doesn't seem to hold up to the promise of some of the individual tracks. Songs like "Chasing Shades," and the absolute album stand-out "Radio", incorporate really interesting rhythmic ideas, as well as some very clever production (the vocals on "Radio" are particularly impressive in this regard), but the songs seem to be lacking in something. It almost seems as though Aloa Input are a little too pleased with themselves sometimes. Without a doubt, they've made a great album, but there are just too many little moments of awesomeness on the album, and too many parts where I just felt as though the band wasn't pushing themselves as hard as they could. Regardless, Anysome has been a lot of fun to listen to. The sounds are widely varied, the songwriting is overall very solid, and even fantastic in some parts, which all in all leaves me very excited to see where this band might go next.