“One Nation” by Aligns

Progressive rock duo Aligns, based out of Brooklyn, New York, will make a definite impression with their new single “One Nation”. Jacques Barbot and Mark Bell are carving out a growing reputation on the basis of heavy riffing and furious beats that are difficult to ignore. Their sound is overwhelming yet bristles with obvious intelligence. “One Nation” is a key track on the band’s latest EP release Monarchy and blisters listeners with a frantic, yet intensely rhythmic, pace. No one will mistake this for mindless thrashing. It, instead, displays well-oiled precision born from the countless hours Barbot and Bell put into creating and shaping their material into its final form.

BANDCAMP: https://aligns.bandcamp.com/

There’s no messing around. “One Nation” roars off its starting blocks and rarely relents. The riffing has an overdriven quality guitar and rock aficionados will embrace without listeners ever feeling bludgeoned into submission. Progressive rock may be a bit of a misnomer for this duo as the track sounds much closer to punk rock; the label “progressive” will put many listeners in the mind of bands such as Rush, Yes, or several others, and Aligns’ material is far from that. The title implies socio-political concerns and the lyrical content backs it up, but “One Nation” is far from any wonky political broadside. It’s musically and lyrically grounded in the vagaries of everyday life.

They do possess the ability to change the arrangement in surprising ways. Anyone expecting straight-ahead punk rock will either rejoice or feel disappointed as Aligns isn’t bashful about showing off their chops. It avoids any unnecessary demonstrations of virtuosity, however, and every turn of the track has a functional rather than ornamental tone. The song’s production emphasizes the duo’s grit. Nothing is prettied up for mass consumption and there’s no studio trickery giving them ill-advised shortcuts. They present the material in a honest fashion and their passion overwhelms you.

Keeping things short, as mentioned earlier, focuses on the material. It is the duo’s punk rock aesthetic shining through. The backbeat for “One Nation” engages listeners physically and doesn’t allow any fence-sitting. You will either react to this song or you won’t and opting for the former guarantees you won’t be able to turn away once they start. The ability to craft such compelling material in a vein such as this shows this is a duo who understand how to connect with their audience. Moreover, it shows a creative unit that knew exactly what they wanted when they began the recording process, and they clear every hurdle in their way with room to spare.

Aligns stands out in an always busy and competitive New York City rock scene. The birthplace of American punk rock has never ceded its status since the halcyon days of the 1970’s and its continuing wont for producing topflight bands goes on with Aligns. If the remainder of Monarchy lives up to the promise realized with this song, it rates as one of the most formidable releases in this style that you’ll hear in recent years. There’s nothing here indicating that it doesn’t. 

Nicole Killian

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Nicole loves to go cross country skiing, swimming, reading and critiquing books, listening and critiquing music, some culinary arts, pottery, spending time with my daughter, cheesy horror films.

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