Aaron Clift 2022
Texan agitators stand against regressive reality and rattle the cage of our present to spread the wings and take off.
Prog artists are big on glorifying the past, fearing the future and falling for fantasy affairs yet they’re not so keen on covering current events – only that’s a sort of escapism from the dystopia we’re living in. This is something Aaron Clift and his friends feel all too well, seeing a root of many a social issue if deceit and false knowledge, fake news included, and such an insight fill the ensemble with enough angst and anger to make the follow-up to the slightly pessimistic "If All Goes Wrong" a furiously infectious, if dynamically uneven, offering. Taking the band’s inherent heaviness to the fore, it packs the fire and ire in a set of punchy pieces, from the title track on, and lets the album’s drift mellow towards “Weight Of The World” – the platter’s rightfully fatigued finale – as heated commentaries get wrapped in attesting tunes.
It’s a concept work, report-like sentences from different voices leading into “The Age Of Misinformation” while a stygian riff is unfolded for the collective sonic assault to spin on before Clift’s vocals lay murky verdicts on the line as his ivories flesh out the often exquisite interplay of guitars and fuel up the chorus only to find the same voices return on air further down the road after the gloom has been lifted. So though folk motifs and polyphony give the belligerent “L.I.A.R.” an anthemic slant and allow Anthony Basini’s six strings to form a fusion filigree on the base of Clif Warren’s pulsing bass, when brass waves sway the mini-epic “Bet On Zero” from blues to old-time balladry blissful melodies are guaranteed to shine through the haze until Pablo Ranlett-López’s percussive passages bring the thunder back.
However, there’s no less tension in the faux-oratorio space of the organ-driven “Rise” that contrasts the chamber acoustics which gently pull “The Color Of Flight” to wuthering heights and the urban electropop of “Málaga” – the record’s retrofuturistic trip that evokes warm nostalgia… and hope too. This is why the songs on “The Age Of Misinformation” detach themselves from futile counterpropaganda and stage an impressive spectacle of spectral magnetism; a milestone in the Austin ensemble’s journey into the era of enlightenment.