mercredi 26 mars 2014

Do the right thing, listen to the new Ages and Ages LP !

Ages and Ages is a band, born in Portland, Oregon. But it’s necessary to look further than the simple word "band", in facts, it represents a “corp” : a group of people gathered by the initiators of the project, Tim Perry and Rob Oberdorfer, in 2009. On stage, they are 7 all singing and all playing an instrument: They are two guitarists -Tim Perry andJohn McDonald -, a bassist - Rob Oberdorfer -, a drummer - Levi Cecil -, a keyboard player - Becca Shultz -, and two percussionnists - Annie Béthancourt and Sarah Riddle -.
Their second album, officially out since yesterday, entitled Divisionary, was signed with Partisan Records.
The album is made of eleven tracks, nicely arranged, with multiple vocal harmonies embellishing their music with brightness. Ages and Ages has one foot in today’s pop music, and the other one in the sixties, reminding us the movement of counterculture and this strongwill  to put  the soul forward.
The album sound gives the impression that it comes from a live broadcast, some conviviality emerges from it as well as very contagious enthusiasm. The arrangements are subtle, without ornament, which strengthens this spontaneity feeling  when we listen to their record. We could easily imagine us within a jam session, where each one comes along with one’ voice and one’s instrument, and adds its touch. The most difficult is to give the impression that everything was an evidence, while the thorough work is precisely orchestrated. Ages and Ages could make it.
The first single out for sale is the one which is called in the same name as the album, Divisonnary (Do the Right Thing). It’s a hymn profoundly optimistic, that wants to be unifier. The title’ strength goes up as the voices get more expensive on instruments, them too more and more numerous. The words echoes the mistakes, the choices which we can make and which determine the person we become. 
The video clip evokes particularly youth, we can wonder the part of autobiography in the history of this song. Choirs add a lot to the emotion. There is this notion of unity, of uniqueness showing  all the way throughout the LP. The power to be a part of something big, and take a force from it, that we did not suspect.
This song aroused such a buzz, causing Barack Obama himself to integrate it into his Spotify “re-election” playlist. An advertisement which adds a political dimension to a song which was not deeply political at first.
Optimism is the leading thread of their albums, but you should not take optimism for naivety. It’s about using weaknesses to build something bigger. It’s important to look further that the shiny, bright side of their music. Ages and Ages ,is an invitation to exchange, to communicate. We want to clap hands, sing with them, we can easily identify ourselves with their lyrics, their troubles. It’s like an introspective journey.
Light goes out begins with a good amount of morning vitamins. We happily wander  with I see More and Over It. We take a soft break with Our Demons and Ante Up. And the album finishes with the magic song Divisionary (do the right thing).
This second album shows a more elaborated work than on Alright You Restless, it’s about standing back on life, a more distanced vision from the society in which we evolve. We observe  more refined aesthetics.
Divisionary is a portmanteau word which sends back to vision and division, the idea that any vision provokes conflicts which we have to use to rise up.
Ages and Ages offer us some hymns to hum in choir, with lyrics easily staying in our memories. Some roots poetry with a bit of anarchy. An album full of colors which doesn’t forget the grey but keeps using it!

Amandine Bazin