Aina Haina

Aina Haina

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After completing their debut EP, Aina Haina, drummer Dylan Magierek quipped that Aina Haina's album was better than Van Halen's A Different Kind of Truth, and even though it seemed like an odd point of reference, it actually wasn't too far off target. While most indie rock duos tend to play a bare-bones version of hard rock and blues (the White Stripes, the Black Keys) or punk (Japandroids, Japanther), Aina Haina has more in common with '80s hair metal. As it was in the world of metal 25 years prior to this album, singer/guitarist Mike Ailes' vocals are sung in a vigorous yowl, and when he's not plugged through an octave pedal, his guitar distortion is shiny and brittle. The duo members were careful to conceal their ages in their promotional material, so it's likely that the band's intentions were never to go this route, and that they were children of the '80s unwittingly influenced by MTV's Headbangers Ball. Still, songs like "Help Me Through" and "Foolin' Around (In the Sun)" have all the corny swagger, big harmonies, and ham-fisted ("Hey pretty girl with the red dress on") lyrics of an early Bon Jovi demo. This spirit is present throughout, but at least the first two songs, the riff-driven "I Wouldn't Let Me in If I Were You" and the Neil Young-ish "I Can't Feel You Anymore," seem more in tune with the time and fare a little better.

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