CD Review of My Heart Has a Wish That You Would Not Go by Aereogramme

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My Heart Has a Wish That You Would Not Go
starstarstarhalf starno star Label: Sonic Unyon
Released: 2007
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In 1997, it was fairly obvious to any classic rock fan that Radiohead was trying to be Pink Floyd with their epic release, OK Computer. Luckily for them they did a pretty damn good job at delivering a sprawling paranoid concept album, so they got away with it. Just three years later Coldplay burst on the scene trying to be Radiohead circa 1995. And since Radiohead at the time was more obsessed with sounding like Kraftwerk and various computer glitches, they got away with it. Now Aereogramme seemingly wants to be Pink Floyd, Radiohead and Coldplay all at once, and since Pink Floyd has broken up (for now), Radiohead is still exploring what different noises Thom Yorke can make on his laptop, and Coldplay have become so damn wussy that Air Supply could beat them up, maybe they thought they just might get away with it too.

On My Heart Has a Wish That You Would Not Go, the band’s third full-length release, Aereogramme combine classic prog-rock conventions with Britpop songwriting to create some enjoyable, if not slightly drowsy-sounding, music. Since their first release in 2001, Aereogramme has been pegged as alternative-progressive, a classification that does not fit most of the tracks on My Heart Has A Wish That You Would Not Go, as the first half of the album consists mainly of songs are good-but-not-great lo-fi emotional rock, combining the less-than-enjoyable aspects of groups like Low and Snow Patrol. “Life Worth Living,” “Exits” and “Barriers” are all perfectly fine songs, but they do give the impression that Aereogramme isn’t doing anything that countless other ballad-friendly rock bands from the UK are doing as well.

Aereogramme thankfully begin to branch out about halfway though the record, starting with the clearly Pink Floyd progressive-rock inspired “Living Backwards,” a nearly seven-minute long epic that begins as your typical modern-era shoegaze track but changes pace halfway through with an energizing blues riff that could have been ripped straight from Animals. Lead singer Craig B’s falsetto, which is a little annoying and tired-sounding at first, clearly benefits from the change of pace, finding a suitable accompaniment in the layered soundscapes that soon follow, such as the tremendous “Trenches” and the symphonic “Nightmares.”

In just six short years Aereogramme has recorded three full-length records and just as many EPs. With their prolific output and varying musical styles, it may be that the band is still trying to find its voice. Right now they are obviously living through their peers and influences, and while they’ve managed to create some great music that way, they’ll have to work harder to find their own way if they want to create a great album. As it stands right now, Aeregogramme is an above-average rock band that has released a fairly enjoyable record with My Heart Has A Wish That You Would Not Go. Slightly adventurous fans of modern-rock staples like Snow Patrol and Coldplay should enjoy it, but more jaded rockers looking for the next great Radiohead or even the next Muse might want to hold off for a few more albums until Aereogramme figures out just who it is they want to be and not just who they want to be like.

~James B. Eldred