With their newest release Sway, No Aloha effortlessly capture summertime in Montreal in just over ten minutes.
The album’s opening track, “Sway,” pulls us into its playful core with a breezy guitar-driven intro. Soon the track takes off and transforms into a carefree whirlwind of peppy chords joined by gentle vocals. The sunny melody, racing by at an upbeat tempo, reminds me of biking through Montreal’s Mile End on balmy summer mornings.
With “Dead Head,” No Aloha set the bittersweetness of modern love in the city to their captivating strain of alt-rock. Spirited trails of drums, guitar, and bass, dance throughout the track, occasionally evoking hints of The Cure. If Robert Smith cloud-gazes on warm summer afternoons, then this would be the song playing in the background as he stares at shifting pink and purple skies.
That being said, on “Work Shirt,” No Aloha stray away from Sway’s initial streams of blithe pop-rock and take a dip in post-punk waters. Waves of harsh strumming and heavy drumming tackle musings of contemporary consumption and workday malaise. More so, lines like “in the absence of belief where can we get relief, drinking poison from our cup,” demonstrate the band’s clever lyrical side. Day in, day out – it sometimes seems like we work to consume and drink to work, just to get by.
Top Track: “Dead Head”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)