Alright so I just recently bought the self-titled album by The Aquarium from Dischord. It is insanely good, and I find it even more impressive that it’s just two people with keyboards and drums. I’m not usually into keyboards at all, but this band is proof that they can be used for good. The songs are just so alive and have an almost unbelievably positive feeling to them.
Jason Hutto’s keyboard playing brings out what sounds like completely new noises in a way that is both meaningful and interesting. Laura Harris’s drums in my opinion are what give the keyboards their credibility though. Her tightly locked rhythms give life to each song and make this project rather miraculous instead of it being just some guy with a keyboard making cool sounds.
I have never heard anything like this stuff. I first heard the song Battle of the Bands from their 2 Songs EP and was immediately fascinated by Hutto’s vocals due to his unprofessional and earnest way of singing. What grabbed me after that was the fact that I was enjoying hearing someone play the keyboard and how sick it sounded lined up so skillfully with the drums.
Now that I’ve got the self-titled album, I can appreciate how this band is able to throw in a bunch of instrumentals and still retain my attention and amazement. It starts off with one called Maxxo Sesh, and I think this may be one of the most captivating first tracks on an album I have come across. I keep imagining how cool it would be to have this as a soundtrack to a skate video simply because it feels like steady movement and progression. Can’t Afford to Live Here follows it and starts off with vocals that may not hook in the listener right away. The quick arrival of the chorus, however, just blows me away. It’s so melodic, and the drums have just as much to say as the keyboard and the vocals. Harris’s drumming reminds me of Amy Farina’s (The Evens, The Warmers) drumming a lot because she is able to do the job of a drummer and insert things that I’ve never heard before at the same time. Giving a voice to the drums is something that will infinitely improve a song.
Speaking of drummers, Brendan Canty of Fugazi mixed this album. I think it’s great that a band like this can be involved in the Dischord world and that the label works with many different kinds of bands. Ian Buckwalter in a review of the band at DCist.com called this album “easily the catchiest record in the entire Dischord catalogue.” From my experience of checking out Dischord bands, it is a pretty safe bet that they will all at least be interesting, but a band that is a part of that community and is also making music that is catchy is interesting as hell.