The husband/wife duo go folksy once more
At 17 tracks, Aquarian Blood’s third LP, Bending The Golden Hour, isn’t as long-winded as one might think. Rumor has it that the 17 are the ones the producer selected out of an initial pool of 43; talk about prolific. So, just be thankful that they aren’t all here in one bundle. But also be on the lookout for the rest to release in whatever form in the near future because there’s no way all those are throwaways; what you’re listening to here is but a capsule-sized preview of the material the duo spawned on what had to have been a magnanimous musical bender that bent the honey-dipped sunlight at that special time of day. (Sorry, selfie-snappers.)
Coming from their brash garage-punk debut LP, Last Nite in Paradise, and the folksy and zany (mostly) acoustic sophomore A Love That Leads to War, and despite both being comprised of 15 tracks, their latest is their longest. But where does it lie on the gamut of their last two? For fans anxious to hear what direction they’d take with their newest and hoping for recourse to the ferocity of their former than the leafy latter, they’ve chosen the latter and continue to follow their affinity for folk. Albeit, strangely enough, all the songs are about as long as the short, sharp shocks that punk songs usually are—each one averages about two minutes.
The album begins with “Channeling,” seemingly to do just that—to summon the animus that will streak through the remaining 16 tracks through intricate fingerpicking and tinny peals. And though it has a woodsy aspect, the inclusion of the synth undermines it while also accentuating it in an unexpectedly welcome way. On “Waited,” an acoustic keeps the rhythm crisp and unerring as an electric guitar plays an economical spaghetti lead, and, in the not so far distance, widescreen synth ebbs and flows.
On “On The Divide” and “Probable Gods,” it teases some heavier synth experimentation in its coda but stops devastatingly too soon. It’s an odd contrasting element to a traditional style, breaking up its insularity with a playfulness that augments what could be done with a previously thought traditional musical style. Yet it doesn’t make enough appearances throughout it for it to be considered some kind of fusion album; it’s mainly those analog instruments in use set to duly pre-digital songwriting and delivery, even in such a track as modern-sounding as “Bending Time”—a humming duet featuring steel and acoustic guitar that still comes off digestible for a more metro audience.
It’s emphatic to know that the entirety of it Bending The Golden Hour bogged down on that one dimension of folk. On “Night Train,” there’s a goth-like bassline and percussion in accord with equally goth imagery of something to do with a night train, evoking the darkness of night and the animal, inexorable chug of a train as the husband of the spousal music duo, J.B. Horrell, fluctuates from an Iggy Pop licentiousness and a focused sibilant whisper. It’s all out of left-field and unpredictable while somehow keeping in a folk framework. But don’t be fooled by, or judge, a first-take. If Aquarian Blood can bend light, they can bend music too.