The Necks make free-flowing music using a very rigid canvas. For Aquatic, they made the rules a bit more supple. First, unlike all their other albums, it doesn't contain a single hour-long piece, but two tracks of a little under 30 minutes each. Second, the trio of Chris Abrahams, Lloyd Swanton, and Tony Buck is joined for the second piece by Stevie Wishart on hurdy-gurdy. This old but still highly unusual instrument shatters the standard mood and pace of a Necks tune. The collaboration works very nicely and is refreshing, even surprising, to an old fan's ears. Yet, Aquatic falls below the group's average and that has little to do with Wishart's guest appearance. One finds the expectable artistry and charm, the almost easy listening/light jazz atmosphere, but this music is all about repetition and hypnotic induction and somehow, for reasons hard to explain, the ingredients of the recipe fail to coalesce into something as soothing as Sex or as captivating as Aether. Not a bad CD by itself, Aquatic doesn't showcase the trio at its peak form. The album appeared in Australia in 1994 on the group's own Fish of Milk label. Carpet Bomb released it in the U.S. five years later.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture