Our Lady of the Highway

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Aviso'Hara is a band on the verge. At moments it seems ready to transcend its peers with a rugged, roaring swirl of noise around a pop core; at other times its emo roots whine like a bad transmission making you just wish it'd stop. The plaintive howl ("Accidental (Moron)," "No Return on Party Dresses") of the vocals detract from the band's layered arrangements, giving them a mawkish feel, while at other times its musicianship sweeps you away in a tempered tornado of driving drum rolls, thorny interfolding lattices of guitar, and lurching rhythms. When a dirge-worthy tempo begins and a solemn, thin voice intones, "Give me the strength to die well," a prayer goes up that it might happen well before the end of the next measure. At the band's best, its pop smarts keep the tempo up, and the singing light, airy, and refreshing. "Movie Trailers" hitches a picked acoustic riff over brushed drums/cymbals, and allows the air to circulate around the tender vocals; "Goodnight Sweetheart" skirts a similar slow-motion vibe as light, ambient effects from triangles to minor chord strums and crashing bass and drum shards erupt momentarily and withdraw before ending in a eclectic storm of sounds. Aviso'Hara's ability to fashion churning soundscapes is enticing but the band's often deficient in giving them interesting vocal lines and melodies. Whether the hooks are absent by neglect, inadequacy, or design, their lack prevents songs such as "Sonic Ego-Size" with its intense whirl of noise from becoming more. There are a lot of good parts here, but they haven't been put together effectively yet.

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