Rock Company 2021
Marrying hateful reality to hopeful reverie, pop-prog cosmic crew target the alien abduction enigma.
There are difficult sophomore efforts and then there is “…Out There…” who follows up on this duo’s debut offering with a four-year gap between the two records that undoubtedly was dictated by the project mastermind’s being busy rather than any difficulty in fashioning fresh music. Still, while the aforementioned first album, "Dawn Of The Age Of Aquarius" which saw multi-instrumentalist Peter Cox and singer Nakoma Z join forces and lift off, promised a brighter day to emerge in its wake, what did arrive may feel lighter in terms of arrangements and melodic immediacy but the new numbers subject matter seems a bit darker. Whereas previously the songwriters focused on such phenomenon as the celestial bodies’ influence on our world, they concentrate on UFOs and abducted earthlings here.
This is an open-ended concept, as far as the elliptical slant of the album’s title suggests, only each track on display – from the inquisitive “Anyone Out There” whose captivating ivories, the weave of perky piano and spacey synthesizers, set the entire trip’s tone before Z’s vocals take the drift to a retro-styled dancefloor, on to the organ-oiled and bass-heavy, albeit quite tranquil, “We Come In Peace” that Cox’s voice and spoken word infuse with cinematic sway – will contain a cloistered piece of the story. Yet if all this, and the spiritual balladry of “Alone In The Universe” and its like, as well as Peter’s arresting six-string solos, could be expected, the gypsy fiddle running through the riffs of “Face Of The Unknown” and the anthemic guitar harmonies of instrumental “Fifth Dimension” come as a delicious surprise, but the art-rock vibrancy behind “The Men In Black” arrives as perfect counterbalance to the infectious electropop bounce of “First Contact” and a few other cuts.
As a result, however uneven “…Out There…” looks, it’s a highly entertaining, and intelligent, opus. Might be worth waiting another four years for AOA’s next work which is bound to stun any listener.