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Album Review: Full Heal by Waking Aida

Waking Aida release their second album, Full Heal, on 25th September through the Robot Needs Home Collective. Produced by Maybeshewill bassist Jamie Ward, it is an assured and accomplished album with post rock landscapes and math rock intricacies in abundance.

Although it comes just a year after their debut Eschaton you get the sense that there’s a new found exuberance and confidence within the band. The mature sound is, at times, mind blowing. The quality is on another level from their debut and as such there isn’t even the slightest hint of that old ‘difficult second album’ syndrome. “We wanted to make an album that felt like a journey, and not in an ‘over-boiled prog concept record’ way but in a totally engaging arthouse film way,” says guitarist James Cleary. “We love Full Heal and hope you do too.” Its nigh on impossible not to, you’ll be moved by the delicate and soaring riffs and crescendos whole being transported into a sonic landscape that feels far removed from everyday live.

The emotional impact of Full Heal cannot be understated. Each of the eight tracks hits you in a way that many instrumental albums threaten to, but never quite master. From the opener ‘Exploding Palm’ you know that you’re listening to something truly special. Big riffs collide and segue into a beautifully intricate guitar parts, sporadic crunching riffs come in to set the blood racing as the track builds towards the crescendo where the crashing riffs and individual notes come together beautifully. The quieter parts of the track are delicate and haunting. With the tone of the album set perfectly, ‘Blue Shelled’ strikes you as one of the most beautiful tracks of 2015. The main riff is has an unrivalled splendour whether it comes in the form of guitar or piano. Such is its delicacy, it packs a serious emotional punch. The different turns and paths of the track make it an enthralling listen that leave you awestruck.

There’s not a weak track on Full Heal, from its heady beginnings it never drops. ‘Higher Fives Than You’ll Ever Be’ is full of mathy niceties against a post rock back drop – conjuring up an image of a more refined early And So I Watch You From Afar. ‘A Sort Of Calm’ is another track of extreme emotional impact. The soaring riffs and haunting keys take you to a deserted and misty forest where you’re being chased, as you run for your life the crescendo gives you hope before the electronic style outro leads you into despair. The programmed beats and keys of ‘Fume’ conjure a dystopian future, while ‘Jilted Surfers’ tugs at the heartstrings with its intricate guitar parts. There’s a more life affirming feel which makes its impact even more striking. ‘Day-Glo Forest’ has the grandeur and dynamics of some of Mogwai’s best soundtrack material yet the explosions and piano parts turn it into its own unique beast. Title track ‘Full Heal’ is the perfect album closer; pulling in the different tones of the preceding 7 tracks it confirmation that Full Heal is a very special album.

Waking Aida have not only delivered the goods with Full Heal, they’ve raised the bar. A stunning album in every conceivable way, you can’t help but to be awestruck. Wonderful.

AD Rating 10/10.


2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Alt Dialogue’s Top 50 Albums of 2015 | Alt Dialogue
  2. Single Review: Shoal by Waking Aida – Alt Dialogue

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