AgesandAges – Alright You Restless album review

AgesandAges – Alright You Restless

Formed in early 2009 by Tim Perry (previously of rock outfit Pseudosix), seven-piece AgesandAges bring us their debut album, ‘Alright You Restless’. Produced by Kevin Robinson (Viva Voice, Blue Giant) at Amorelphonics in Portland in eight days, the album was performed almost entirely live with seven voices sung into one microphone. The result is utopian campfire pop with every member effortlessly channelling an exuberance layered over vocal harmonies that sound like an indie-gospel choir. AgesandAges’ brand of powerfully life-affirming buoyance propelled by glorious vocal harmonies is the all-conquering antithesis of the cynicism shadowing most people’s daily lives. Neither cynicism nor bitterness get a look-in on this album’s 10 songs. Perry has said, “The fact that this record is coming out now is like a wedding day.” 

Comprising a collection of breezy, road-trip-worthy folk-rock songs, the Portland natives’ record is especially seamless and well-produced. Following a couple of well-received live performances at the MusicfestNW festival in their hometown, AgesandAges take the effusiveness of their live set and translate it on to ‘Alright You Restless’. So determined to rally against the downbeat apathy that has so often been a hallmark of many Northwestern bands, that in the wake of his former band’s demise, frontman Tim Perry went and formed a band so earnestly heart-on-sleeve that any jaded soul would be hard-pressed not to be affected. This indomitable spirit, combined with the band’s considerable proficiency, has been an unlikely weapon in making AgesandAges a hometown favorite poised for national success, and perhaps beyond. The LP has a bright, glossy tone that permeates the entire record, from the opening track, ‘No Nostalgia’, to the closer, ‘Souvenir’. The band harmonize together with an energy that’s fun and infectious which, by traditional rock music standards, shouldn’t hit the spot.  But it does.

Not withstanding Perry’s uncanny vocal resemblance to Jack White (especially when unaccompanied), the seven-piece exudes enough electric joy that it feels like a big hippy revival. Not altogether different from some of Arcade Fire’s early work, there’s something very church-like and cathartic about AgesandAges’ LP. That said, after the jubilance of the album’s first half, ‘Navy Parade’ and ‘The Peaks’ feel like an emotional comedown. There’s a moment after the call-and-response bridge of closer ‘Souvenir’, after the bursting return to the verse, where the vocals stand alone. As one of the band’s standout live songs, they’ve managed to capture it perfectly on record. They also touch upon lessons learned, set ablaze with that same optimism. There are frequent lyrical references to self-imposed seclusion (“We’re better off in isolation”, sings Perry on ‘So So Freely’), communal living and a hermitic existence assembled throughout the album but, conversely, this is diluted by a generous helping of inviting energy.

Once deficient in an online presence, that’s now changing for AgesandAges. If you love exuberant pop songs, choral harmonies, and, well, happiness, I urge you to check out these tracks. With plans for future touring, expect AgesandAges to ingratiate themselves to the indie-rock masses.

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