Aqua Lounge's goal with Dream Big Broadcast is simple - to make you groove, to shake your hips and lose your sh*t. They have succeeded in their quest.
Aqua Lounge is a swirling psychedelic combo from Santa Barbara, CA, embellishing the Nuggets-worshipping guitar twang with ample heapings of garage organ rave-ups. The end result is what it might've been like if Roky Erickson had taken down the tinfoil and turned off the horror movies and gone for a walk. Or like Anton Newcombe, if he had goodwill towards humankind.
Dream Big Broadcast is both an aimless, pointless ride through a suburb, shouting punk rock lyrics, and late night moonpool worship. That is to say, it's youth protest AND mind-blown cosmic mysticism, awash in the bigness of the wider world. Or perhaps that is the protest...
It is startling when album closer "Tide Pools" fades out with a lazy acoustic guitar strum and a sing-along "All I want is love/All I want is you." Forty-seven years after The Beatles shouted rancorously, "All you need is love," it is as much of a revolutionary cry as ever, maybe even a little more so when it can seem so hopeless to know where or how to get involved, yet to feel this yearning to change the world somehow. This is something that musicians have to contend with. So do you start an earnest hardcore bound, and scream about oil? Or an abrasive noise outfit, using junk to feedback resistance back into the commodity machine? Yawn, it's all been done.
The answer, as is starting to become clear, is for people to do their own thing, to be themselves, to spark their own riot in their own lives, by doing something real and great. There is no such thing as genres or movements, they're figments and constructs. Yet, with each and every record, every track, you have a chance to stun and thrill, to entice and invite people to throw these songs on their earbuds and make them a part of their lives.
Aqua Lounge doesn't sound like they're trying to fit in, which makes them fit right in with my universe of lunatics. And it's well presented. The organ is a nice touch, the bass is dry and punchy, the guitars are stacked in a kinda trippy way. The recording errs a bit on the lo-fi and raw, which just adds to the charm of Dream Big Broadcast, in my opinion. There is a '70s anthemic quality at the same time, like a band trying to sound like Steely Dan or Journey, recorded straight to tape in someone's garage.
Dream Big Broadcast makes me want to throw it on my headphones and go find some nighttime beach. They make me want to start a band (or more like practice with the ones I have). They actually sound wild and exciting when people were starting to wonder if that was even still possible.
It is. You just have to listen. And dream big.
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