Aloud Goes Exploring in Space on Apollo 6

Making their sixth album is how the Los Angeles rockers rode out the pandemic

Music Reviews Aloud
Aloud Goes Exploring in Space on Apollo 6

Like everybody else in 2020, the members of Los Angeles indie-rock band Aloud were stuck at home. With a lush new album, Sprezzatura, that they were unable to take on tour, bandleaders Jen de la Osa and Henry Beguiristain instead turned their attention to shaping their next project, which became Apollo 6.

Aloud’s sixth LP is a pandemic album for sure, in a thematic sense and also from a logistical standpoint. Instead of Aloud’s usual method of hashing out songs in the band’s rehearsal space, de la Osa and Beguiristain went exploring the furthest reaches of their minds. If that sounds psychedelic, well, yeah. Apollo 6 finds Aloud exploring spacey sonic textures, spacious landscapes and, ultimately, the very idea of space: outer, inner and in between. They folded their experimental impulses into the lean, surging rock ’n’ roll sound Aloud has been honing since the band first got together in 2002.

Apollo 6 works best when the guitars are cranked up loud, which lends the songs the feel of a lockdown catharsis. Opener “Somewhere to Be” idles high on gnashing guitars, booming bass and a huge drum beat as Beguiristain sends his strong voice soaring high. Aloud keeps the momentum going on the next track, “The Comeback Kid,” where de la Osa belts out the catchy melody over pulsing bass and serrated guitars. It’s a tough, powerful sound that radiates like a shock wave. The band dials up the psychedelia on “Meditation for the Housebound” (a pandemic sentiment if ever there was one) with echoing guitars and a ’60s-style Farfisa organ sound as de la Osa glides in her imagination through blue skies.

Not every musical palette works here. Despite interlocking vocal harmonies from de la Osa and Beguiristain, the acoustic “Morning Moon” feels slight, while the upbeat “Apollo” reaches for an anthemic grandeur it doesn’t quite achieve. All the same, there’s plenty that’s compelling about these 10 songs, from the slinky groove of “Big Blue” to the hip-shaking boogie of “Stranger in the Alps.” One more thing to love: This time around, Aloud can properly air these songs out onstage, and that’s a space where they ought to really shine.

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