Burn It Down: A Review of the Newest EP from Aqueous
Earlier this month Buffalo based groove Prog-Rock band Aqueous released a four song EP. This EP shows off a new side of the band while maintaining loyalty to their sound. With a solid hold upon the jam scene throughout New England, Aqueous has been known for their ability to utilize improvisation heavily in the creative process of their live performances. In studio recordings this has always been reflected as well, shown through the use of Progressive instrumental segments. Looking back on the last EP the band released, out of the four songs, none of them clocked in below nine minutes long. But now the band has decided to take a step away from their prog roots and test out a different style. In their newest EP titled “Burn It Down” each song falls under four minutes.
Prior to the release of the EP, Aqueous dropped two separate playlists; one on Spotify and the other on Nugs.net. Both playlists, as stated by the band, were comprised of covers that influenced the band while they were creating the new EP, with the playlist on Nugs.net being comprised of covers they have performed live, and the Spotify playlist being from the artists that created the songs themselves. Crediting bands such as Tame Impala, Two Door Cinema Club, Beck, and LCD Soundsystem, it is clear that the band is pushing themselves to move away from the classic misconception that jam bands struggle to create studio music with mainstream appeal.
Within the first listen, anyone familiar with Aqueous will be able to pick up on the differences from previous released music. Apart from shying away from intricate intros and long periods of exploring instrumental segments there has also been a larger focus put onto the vocal side of the music. Adding new vocal effects as well as the technique of repeating the hook multiple times has put more emphasis on the lyrical content of the music and allows for listeners to more easily connect with the song. Looking back at previous songs from Aqueous such as Origami, Willy is 40, or Don’t Do it, it is often found that Aqueous will have several different segments or movements throughout each song that juxtapose each other and lend itself to long improv jam sections. But in this new EP each song has a holistic consistency in how it is created.
The night of its release on November 8th, 2019, Aqueous had live debuts of each song. And has since then played at least one song from the EP during each show along the rest of their fall tour. What’s more is that they have incorporated their overall style of playing to each of these songs to integrate them into their shows. Often transitioning in and out of the new songs and exploring using improvisation within the songs as they have been debuting them. This exploration is nothing new for Aqueous. Since this is the first time they have created songs in such a format, it has given long time fans a new way to ingest the “jam” treatment Aqueous is so fondly known for. Aqueous has been teasing at some YouTube releases happening in the near future associated with the EP so keep an eye on the Mirth Films page to keep up to date with all Aqueous related news.