May 04, 2004

Aveo "Battery"

Seattle's Aveo (a Latin term meaning 'desire') have taken indie rock to a whole other level. While it would be easy to say that this threesome is following in the footsteps of its labelmates Death Cab For Cutie. Such accusations, while winsome, are somewhat credible, but Aveo's agenda is not one of mere imitation. That these guys have seemingly appeared on the scene makes Aveo's story even nicer. It's always good to have an underdog, and it's even better to have one that simply appeared out of nowhere.

Battery, the band's second album, is as breathtaking in its economy as it is in its sonic beauty. With a hint of atmospheric rock here and a touch of pure pop there, Aveo have created an album that you could easily mistake as a big-budget rival to Coldplay's Parachutes or Travis' The Man Who.The threesome sound much larger than the simple three-man bass-guitar-drum lineup would lead you to believe, an even more impressive feat for a band that's this young in their career. Throw in some rather interesting instrumentation choices including piano, cello, glockenspiel and organ, and Aveo have created a rather unique formula from the most basic of styles.

It's obvious from the first few bars of "Newton and Galileo" that Battery is going to be special. The beating drums and sad, melancholy guitar riffs instantly set the atmosphere to cold and foggy, and William Wilson's haunting and depressing singing voice automatically draws you in. While he may not have the hurt, heartbreaking falsetto of Thom Yorke, that's only because Wilson hasn't been around long enough. But don't fear these comparisons; "Dust That Dreams of Brooms" turns up the tempo and is a rather good rock song. Sure, it sticks out like a sore thumb in between more morose numbers like "Desert and the Great Divorce" and "Fistfights with Mr G," but it gives the album a nice punch and gives Aveo a depth that so many other bands don't have.

Aveo is a band poised for greatness, plain and simple. Battery is a wonderfully moody record, that's as full as promise for Aveo as The Bends was for Radiohead. Haven't heard of Aveo yet? I have this very strong suspicion that you will by year's end. So instead of waiting until the rest of the world realizes how awesome these guys are, go ahead, take the plunge, and experience one of the better records of 2004. You won't be disappointed.

--Joseph Kyle

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