When you think of an artist or band sounding like a combination of Tom Waits and Nick Cave, with a little Modest Mouse thrown in, surely that can’t be a bad thing, right? If you’re talking about Aquariums’ sophomore project . . . In Love and Death, then the answer is yes, it can be a bad thing.
Holding true to its first album, the Nashville-based Indie group uses the same four-piece set (drums, bass, acoustic guitar and electric guitar) to create an album full of forgettable lyrics and melodies that fail to distinguish themselves from song to song.
There are nine songs on the album, and the musical arrangement varies very little, if at all. Out of the nine songs, there are two fairly up-tempo songs (“Little Bird” and “An Answer”), while the rest are slow and do not make a lasting impression.
With talented musicians, which is very much the case here, it’s disappointing to have an album that lacks so much lyrically and musically. . . . In Love and Death is absent of any memorable lyrics or melodies. Perhaps one of the biggest disappointments with this album is Martin Schneider trying so hard to sound like Tom Waits. Schneider has a great voice and is a talented singer, but it is hard to hear that in this album.
The last track, “Wake Up,” is probably the best track on the album. Schneider goes from the soft-spoken, raspy sound that fills the album to an angry, much louder sound. As far as the musical arrangement goes, it is the same as the other songs, but “Wake Up” is the only song that stands out lyrically.
Fans of previous work might meet the sophomore album with higher acclaim, but Aquariums should not look to recruit new fans with this endeavor.