Aloha | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Aloha 

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If college-age fans of Aloha were to sit their middle-aged parents down and make them listen to the group's new Some Echoes (Polyvinyl), I have a feeling the kids might start finding Genesis CDs slipped into their care packages of tube socks and instant coffee. Aloha's fourth full-length is a constellation of vintage progressive rock reference points: "Your Eyes" has a programmatic, Lamb Lies Down on Broadway feel that's noticeably distinct from the Duke-era pop cruise of "Weekend." The unison drums-and-keys figure on "Summer Lawn" is the most ELP-sounding thing an indie band is likely to pull off this year, and "Come Home" nicks the faux bossa nova beat of Steely Dan's "Do It Again." But creativity borrows while genius steals, and Aloha manages to pull off things a band like ELP never could: great melodies, hooks, and, as of late, concision. (Keyboardist-engineer T.J. Tipple, who joined the band on their previous record, is widely credited with focusing Aloha's prog-rock tendencies. He also builds fucking mellotrons in his living room.) And the immaculate, in-the-pocket heaviness of drummer Cale Parks binds everything together. But in thinking about all these old LPs, I wonder: for all the strong, sometimes great tunes on Some Echoes, does it jell as an album, an experience that leaves you somehow different from before, as the best prog rock intended? It's maybe an unfair question to ask in the age of 99-cent downloads, but Echoes encourages the kind of repeated close listening needed to make an album out of a record. Pinback headlines, Aloha plays second, and Herc. opens. Sun 4/30, 8 PM, Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N. Kedzie, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $14 in advance, $16 at the door. All ages.

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