It’s not very often that an album is released that can really “wow” people. But on occasion, there is that one mind blowing album, something fresh, something new. This year, that album is presented to us by No Sleep Records’ Aficionado. Their debut self-titled full length is one of the most impressive albums of 2011. There is a ton of experimentation on the album, but it still maintains a catchy aspect to it, and that’s what makes it such a great album.
The band is one of the few seven pieces that utilize all members to their full capacity. The album is lead by frontman Nick Warchol’s vocals, which on occasion bear an Adam Lazzara-esque sound. Tracks like the opening duo “The Things You Like” and “Stir Like Hell” show off how great his voice works over the style of experimental-indie-punk instrumentation the remaining members of the group create.
But don’t assume Warchol’s voice is the only thing that carries this album. The brightest moments are actually in the musicianship. Flautist/vocalist Laura Carrozza demonstrates how much the flute can bring to a song on “Everything Was Right”. Not only does she steal the show on the track, Carrozza may have in fact performed the best piece of music Aficionado has ever written. “Confidence Is Intimidating” allows guitarists James Kehoe and Christopher Tenerowicz to show off their skill at it’s best, especially in the outro.
“Honesty” benefits greatly from the guest spot by Travis Shettel (TS and The Past Haunts, ex-Piebald). His vocals make the song one of the many bright spots on Aficionado, and add to what is probably the catchiest song on the album. The group slow down their near schizophrenic sound on “Permanent”. While the song doesn’t have the energy of the previous tracks, it’s still a powerful track. It’s during this song that keyboardist Craig Dutra is at his best. The keys are the most essential part of the song, and work greatly with Warchol’s vocals over them. One of the other highlights of “Permanent ” is the lyric “And I remember hearing fables about a fountain to make us ageless / A phony sense of security and confidence / We are not permanent / And for a while I didn’t give a shit, and I wasn’t scared of anything / Yeah, being naive sure had it’s benefits”, which is the most relatable and one of the most honest lines on Aficionado.
The musicianship is truly excellent on this album. Aficionado are experimental, but it still has emotion. It doesn’t feel like the members are showing off. It doesn’t feel like a competition. Every aspect of the album is super cohesive. The occasional dual vocals between Warchol and Carrozza works great for each vocalist, but isn’t so used that it makes those moments even better. Simply put, Aficionado have released one of 2011’s best records.
Aficionado is available now on CD, vinyl, and digitally though No Sleep Records.
1. The Things You Like
2. Stir Like Hell
3. Everything Was Right
5. Confidence Is Intimidating
7. Falsified Inspiration
10. Open Doors
For fans of: Cursive, I guess. It’s super unique and you should just listen to it.