Album Review: Silhouettes by Aquilo

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By Ellie Louise Danson

Image: Aquilo

It can sometimes be hard to get excited about music that is expressively mellow. However ambient electro-pop duo Aquilo’s new album Silhouettes gives us a masterclass in intimate and personal lyrics, sharing their experiences of heartbreak, tribulation and regret.

Hailing from the Northern picturesque village of Silverdale, Aquilo here bring us a dreamy, melodic sound that is a world away from the heavy rock music they made in their younger days, when they played in rival local bands. The Lake District has become established at producing successful artists, electronic duo Bondax have enjoyed international success as have indie rock band Wild Beasts, but the boys from Aquilo create a different world altogether.

The band began writing together in 2013 and have since released five EPs, celebrating positive feedback from critics and continuing to build a loyal following globally. Several of their tracks have also featured in films and popular series including Pretty Little Liars. The boys have just returned from North America where they have been supporting singer-songwriter Låpsley just in time for the release of their debut album.

There was a slight concern from fans that the melancholy sound could become repetitive and the break between tracks could get lost. However this was never the case; it’s easy to leave the album on repeat for hours without ever feeling disinterested and each track gives something unique to the final product.

The title track ‘Silhouettes’ begins with a stunning piano melody which gives in to a crescendo of strings as it progresses whilst lyrics such as “We’ve become echoes but echoes they fade away,” touch a deep emotion and set the bar high. ‘Blindside’ is a reminder of the delicate, endearing sound that we are used to hearing, while the production of ‘Human’ is slick, combining careful instrumentation with moving harmonic echoes.Fresh and more up-tempo tracks ‘Never Hurt Again’ and ‘You Won’t Know Where You Stand’ have a more commercial edge to them and signal hope even in their still broken lyrics.

It’s impressive that the band manage to switch up their sound throughout the 14 tracks, holding the listener’s attention. Jazz undertones and an impressive soulful vocal performance in ‘Always Done What You Say’ would have Jamie Cullum reeling. At times during ‘Low Light’ it is easy to get distracted by vocal interludes and loops which seem slightly excessive and take away from their bold and strong lyrics. However, the boys themselves have confessed that they aren’t perfectionists and it’s nice to hear the raw vocals and stripped back piano in ‘Waiting’.

This album is a must listen, even though you may find yourself sprawled out across your sofa for hours, motionless as their warm, tranquil sound transports you somewhere else.

Although they have not yet announced when, Aquilo will inevitably soon be embarking on a tour for this masterpiece that will bring them to Manchester (they are no strangers to the Northern Quarter) and if you get chance to watch their live show, take it. The future for this band looks very bright indeed.

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