By Hailey Nuthals, Highlighter Editor
Imagine yourself driving down a highway – just outside of a city, close enough to see the lights but not so much so that you’re among them – going twenty miles over the speed limit, laughing with your friends as you share a bottle of Coke and talk about life. You’re on your way somewhere, but you’ve got a long way to go, and no particular rush to get there.
A. Sinclair’s sophomore album, “Get Out Of The City,” feels just like that, or at least like the music that would be playing in that car. The opening / title track launches immediately into a sound that lacks proper roots in any geographical sound style. It is not the definitive East Coast garage rock of bandleader Aaron Sinclair’s Boston roots, nor the country-fied twang of his current situ in Austin, Texas.
The transition to the next track, “Liars In The State Of New York,” is seamless, even though the urgent guitar and pounding drums of the track give off a much angrier vibe. That feeling carries through to “They Breed And Say Hello,” with the essential vibe of a dark scene in a movie where someone’s about to commit a reckless crime. The bass line is layered expertly just below the initial level of awareness, and Sinclair’s vocals blend perfectly so that the lyrics about being lost and betrayed and alone sneak by before the listener realizes they’re jamming along to something quite a bit more grim than they thought.
Just as the album might risk repeating itself, “Everything We Need” breaks the pattern of upbeat, almost paranoid rock for a soft acoustic reflection. A small amount of Austin’s cowboy twang leaks into the guitar, and with the violin playing lovely extended notes in the background, one can almost picture a front porch that overlooks the sun setting over the country.
The break ends with “I’m On A Ocean,” which starts out almost exactly like “Get Out Of The City,” with the lyrics and guitar line hearkening back to the album’s opening themes. Following that, the rest of the album oscillates between the frantic mid-2000’s vibe and expertly inserted lower-energy pieces. As a whole, it’s almost like an initial idea is presented, and then Sinclair continues to elaborate for the first six tracks on it before letting the next six tracks discuss that idea’s implications and explore its possible iterations. It’s not only a piece of aesthetic but an investigation of it. The experience is one we might not admit to needing, but definitely one we’ve all savored any time we get a jar of Snapple from the gas station just because we miss the taste of summer and carelessness.
“Get Out Of The City” drops this Friday, May 13th. See A. Sinclair when they visit New York for two performances on July 15th and 16th at Union Hall and Mercury Lounge, respectively. Find them on Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp