Genre: lo-fi, indie pop
July 21 2008
An hour of lo-fi pop music is difficult to pull off successfully, and
while many have attempted the feat, few have sidestepped failure.
Active for ten years now, And Academy has given it their best
shot with the inexplicably titled Aids, and, well, it's a bit
of a mixed bag. Going through this album, it frustrates me to no end
how Aids can be at times so amazing, and at other times so
We'll begin with the bad news - Aids
is a record that builds over time. In fact,
the first two tracks are two of its worst. Although
second track "Seven Years Breaking Broken
Bad Luck and Good" has a warm bliss-pop sound, melodically it is one
of this disc's dryest moments. Also lacking
in efficacious hooks are "The Immaculate Divine" and "Hello Moon,"
though the dreamy, unique texture of the
latter manages to save it from the waste bin.
Unsurprisingly, the best songs on Aids are the most
original. And Academy are no strangers
to unusual song structures, and this album is full of departures from
the verse/chorus formula. The best song, "Blast Off," is a spacey,
psychedelic rock song that builds rather than cycles; the end result
is a lo-fi acid-rock classic with an absolutely killer melody. Also
enjoyable are the shifting melodies of "Jugglin' Sunny Stars" and the
psych-pop of "Rush'N Zap Attack," which transforms halfway through in
to a magnificent instrumental. The beautiful sixties-drenched vocals
and Moog-like synths of "Moonlighting Paula Jane" are also worthy of
note to psych-pop lovers.
Aids is a unique and engaging lo-fi album that manages to
transcend its production limitations to produce something distinctly
its own. The frequently psychedelic pop experiment that results
doesn't always work out - but when it does,
it's truly something special.
[Vitals: 13 tracks, distributed by