Aussie collective blow hot and cold on second LP.
Extra prog brownie points must go to AlithiA for introducing their new album with a dreamy 10-minute long-haul, which takes the listener through post-rock soundscapes and succulent harmonies. Perhaps the Australian sextet’s most redeeming trait is their knack for doing these hypnotic meanderings just as convincingly as the more modest fourminuters, and it’s evident to impressive effect on this, their second album. For every psych space-out like opener The Sun, there’s a The Knife, a trimmer ditty that ends up more Deftones in scope. But with their chameleon-like nature, there’s a feeling AlithiA aren’t so sure of their own identity. The shapeshifting Empress sounds confused, juggling electronica and edgy rock like two hot potatoes, while the near nine-minute Breathe fails to warrant the repeat button. By the time closer Faces In The Leaves emerges with its absorbing, hazy vocals and stirring atmospherics, you’re left wondering what the takeaway message is. Modern-day prog fun, atmospheric, synthy ruminations or left-leaning alt-rock? AlithiA are to be applauded for furrowing their own path, but there’s a danger of things slipping through their grasp.