Aisles – The Yearning

There’s been no denying that the progressive rock scene has since spread beyond the confines of North America and Western Europe to the rest of the world. In fact, in recent years, some of the best progressive rock has emerged from the new wave of global proggers. One such nation that seems to have been picking up some speed with their scene is Chile, which may not be the first place someone would go to when looking for strong modern symphonic prog rock. However, Chilean neo-proggers Aisles prove with their debut ‘The Yearning’ that they are a band that deserves to be recognized on the international scene. While possessing a familiar sound of melodic prog in the vein of Marillion or Genesis, Aisles do what they do very well, and the result is ‘The Yearning’, a highly capable debut record that makes up for its lack of innovation with beautiful melodies, arrangements and performances from all involved.

Although the pursuit melody in music is certainly not at the top of most proggers’ lists in terms of importance, the highly harmonious songwriting that Aisles works with this album works to their benefit. The lyrics are nothing special in terms of wordplay or derived meaning, but the vocals of Sebastián Vergara feel as if they contribute alot not only to the sound, but the composition as well. The other two Vergara brothers (keyboardist Luis and guitarist Germán) drive the rest of the music, often playing off of each other. The effect is one of beautiful harmony between instruments.

The songwriting is not as consistent as I may have liked, but from the first track- ‘The Wharf That Holds His Vessel’- onwards, it should be clear that the band can write a very good piece of prog rock. By the latter half of the album, it does feel as if Aisles begins to stretch out their musical ideas a little too far, leading to one too many lackluster moments, most notably ‘The Shrill Voice’ and the plodding final epic ‘Grey’. The best music here rests with the opener, the melancholic ‘Clouds Motion’, and the sixth track ‘The Scarce Light Birth’, which has hints of flamenco acoustic guitar, hinting at their cultural roots.

Of course, Aisles has not developed any measure of groundbreaking album or revolution in prog rock. Often, the band will sound a little too close to British neo-prog legends Marillion for my personal liking, but based on its own merits, Aisles’ ‘The Yearning’ is a very good debut. Melody, strong songwriting, admirable performances, and enough details in the music to be worth going back to quite a few times makes the album an unlikely winner.

Tracklist:

1. The Wharf that Holds his Vessel
2. Uncertain Lights
3. Clouds Motion
4. The Rise of White Sun
5. The Shrill Voice
6. The Scarce Light birth
7. Grey

Line-up:

* Marco Prado – drums
* Alejandro Sarmiento – bass
* Sebastián Vergara – vocals, flute
* Germán – guitars
* Luis – keyboards

Guest musicians:
* Alejandro Meléndez – keyboards, piano
* Rodrigo Sepúlveda – guitars

Links:

http://www.aisles.cl/

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