At first glance, Guits from NY's Aaron Taos comes across as a perfectly acceptable slice of cosmopolitan indie rock. Instead of earworms or hooks, this is more like earsilk, slipping gently across your eardrums, and sliding off just as easily. At this point in musical history, it's easy to forget that it's not easy to construct such a clean, polished and poised pop record. It can be easy to dismiss an album without considering what goes into its making.
Aaron Taos delivers a kind of sharp, witty artpop, similar to what Elvis Costello was doing in the early '80s. Taos, however, has filtered all of the grit from Costello's abrasive formula, smoothing the rough edges with dreamy reverb, echo and delay. The end result is all Vaseline, no sand. It's well executed, but still manages to come across as more style than substance.
Taos cites modern singer/songwriters like Mac DeMarco as an influence, which comes across in the presentation. Like DeMarco, one gets the feeling that Taos is entirely content living in his own world. Reverb, in this instance, signifies a certain mental and spiritual detachment, transmissions from dead white rooms in the middle of the night. It is this contentment that slightly rubs me the wrong way. While it must be nice to have some #blessed existence, full of artisanal pastries and pour-over coffees, for many/most of the world, life is a struggle.
That is not to suggest that Guits doesn't have its charms. "Hands" is a step in the right direction with a smooth and solid beat and little bits of cut-up special FX, giving the sensation of walking through a packed crowd. "Blow" is a catchy acoustic folky number emphasizing Taos' guitar playing, which is definitely the record's greatest strengths. For the axe slingers, you're likely to take all manner of influence from Taos' glistening guitar chords, delivered with impeccable tone and precise production. See "Bangs" and "Simple & Sober" for good examples of Taos' great guitaring.
There are simply a few too many missteps with Guits for it to be a great record (It is certainly a good record). Although we're not supposed to judge a record by its cover, the illustration of Taos' head, like some monstrous advice animal crossed with Miley Cyrus, floating in that aforementioned dead white room, says a little too much about this record. It says, "Hey, I know times are tough out there. The world is burning, people are getting shot, unemployment is skyrocketing, and robots are taking over while we screw about on Instagram. But, hey, it's fine! We're having a good time!" This makes Guits a creepy and oddly existential record and I'm pretty sure that's not what Taos was going for.
Become A Fan
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook