AQUADORA – Into Light in the Tracks
As delayed, wholly manipulated guitar tones filter through simple and poignant vocal lines, Aquadora immediately and wholeheartedly displays his extraordinary exploratory idealism. While hints of Radiohead and Beck seem to inform his song construction, it’s his games and toys that alter these tunes into sonic sculptures and exercises in pushing beyond the ordinary, flitting playfully in front of your third eye. British pop informs the sound, from the overdriven snare tones to the lanky lead guitar lines. But Jonny, under his Aquadora moniker, uses the singular vision of the solo artist to split the rock ‘n’ roll formula wide open, spilling its hallucinatory guts all over your ears.
The pained musing of the opening track, “A Raw Open Core,” plays with layers of tone more than a rhythmic drive. But the beat bursts in with a tasty fill and a solid punch that brings Oasis firmly to mind in the second tune, “Simple Sonic Waves.” The guitars scream with the Edge’s delayed intensity while the underlying texture is far more manic and aggressive than anything U2 has ever attempted.
The snap of sticks counting off the 4 and the disco hi-hats and distant snare hits augment his kaleidoscopic musings in “Wide Eyed Broken Heart,” with the whine of effected guitars sneaking around the corners. But it’s the first line of “Spinning Our Cocoons” that may reveal the most prescient information about this artist: “I dropped out of college and took a lot of drugs / I had to escape the zoo of Christian fear I was born into / I had to bleed to find my heart, I had to dream to make it real / I had to lose to learn to die to all my pride.” This artist lays his ideals, his story and his artistic soul directly in front of his audience. He continually develops ways to communicate his aural vision to anyone who will listen with an open heart. The up-front riffing and drive of “Home-None” continues to show off this man’s love of pop music that means something.
The final track, “The Clock Stops,” with Pink Floyd guitar lines and outrageously effected vocal delivery, is the most definitive statement of musical presence and power on this short disc. The octave separation of vocal lines gives a full presence as acoustic guitar tones offer a solid counterpoint to the droning pad of strings stirring behind the picture. As with all of Aquadora’s music, this one pours with honest questions that haunt the thoughtful and spiritual among us. Jonny has a deep and meaningful way of hitting those core emotive elements, those areas of human connection to sound and ideas that make music a transcendental medium. The music builds and builds and builds, grinding outrage bouncing off of a clean and tight rock ‘n’ roll progression, bursting with sound and will before returning to the ground to ask a simple question: “How do you save one moment and make it last a lifetime?”