Portland Oregon’s AgesandAges are a band that shouldn’t work. A 7 piece that mixes Folk, ’60s Rock and Pop and ties it all together with gospel like harmonies.
Somehow, however, it does work. In fact it works unbelievably well.
Alright You Restless is a record that has to be heard to be believed.
It wastes no time setting the tone, opening with ‘No Nostalgia’ which is all folk-blues and hand-claps and immediately gives you that first blast of those stunning gospel-esque harmonies which knocks you off your feet and has you crawling back for more all in the very same second.
Meanwhile, ‘These Elbows’ could almost be a Wilco song and ‘So So Freely’ bounces along so very, well… freely. It is one of the many moments that oozes good vibes and sunshine and it is so infectious it is simply impossible not enjoy.
The real trick here though – the thing that elevates this from a good record to a great one – is that they have been very cautious not to over do the gospel thing. Rather than over-use that particular asset they often steer these songs in a different direction and use their considerable vocal talents for some remarkable backing vocals instead. Some of which are so subtle that you probably will not pick them out until you have listened to the record a good few times and others are as urgent and as striking as the lead.
The best example of this can be found on ‘When I Was Idle’ which sees the gentlest backing of oohs and aahs at the beginning and a massive group sing-a-long of ‘We don’t want your enemies / Save that trouble for yourself / It’s us or no one else / in our own story’ which you will be humming for days without even realising it.
Elsewhere, ‘Navy Parade (Escape From The Black River Bluffs)’ is – along with the aforementioned ‘No Nostalgia’ – the most obvious ‘hit’ on this record as it evolves very nicely from an understated folk song into another incredibly catchy sing-a-long.
I have listened to this record so many times and the last couple of listens I have been deliberately trying to pick out something negative to say about it.
I pretty much failed.
In fact the only time this record evokes anything other than joy is when it finishes, which of course is easily fixed – listen on repeat.
Alright You Restless is an early contender for record of the year for sure.
It is out now so go and buy it immediately – you can thank me for making your life awesome in your own time.