AquaCats is made up of two land-based humans known as Adam Rochelle and Max Luton. These two are music majors at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. They created AquaCats in the spring of 2016 and have worked on the project over the past year in order to fulfill the creative component of their joint senior project. The end result is far more exciting than any old academic exercise.
Their self-titled release AquaCats opens with “Pop is 4 the Kidz.” It opens with warbling, flickering synthetic notes. A throbbing beat eventually bursts into view along with a timid, soothing pop-esque vocal melody. With the words, “this is not a pop song, but we’ll sing it like it is” melodically chanted over a catchy melody, it’s a perplexing but intriguing song.
It’d pass as simply being danceable and fun, but it’s the witty and charming lyrics which I enjoyed the most about the performance. The jazzy synth piano breakdown towards the close of the song was also a fun, quirky addition to the piece. For a song which sounds deceptively poppy, the arpeggios are incredibly layered and complex. It was certainly an interesting listen.
“Clueless” is a soothing piece which opens with plinking, soothing, atmospheric notes reverberating into empty space. Elongated vocals and huge piano chords emerge from this soundscape along with a simplistic, throbbing beat. It’s the funky jazz bass and synth which pumps into view during the chorus which truly surprised me. I was enjoying the timid step back from the poppy noise of the opener, but the explosion of funky lip-biting noise was truly my favorite moment. The soothing vocals, once again, were also a melodic treat to the ears.
“Runaway Train” is a guitar-driven ballad. Clean electric chords ring out as do sweet, tender vocals which sing “You run your life like a runaway train” and “I love you when you laugh / And I love you through the pain / I’ll ride you ‘til the end of the line.” It’s hard to convey the raw passion and emotion that the duo expresses in this track without hearing it for yourself. It’s a simplistic and repetitive song, but it’s by no means a boring one. The guttural emotion present throughout the track keeps the music exciting consistently.
“and now, for something completely different (intermission)” delivers on its title. Channeling an EDM energy, a slowly pulsating beat buried beneath a layer of sound creates a head-banging rhythm with which it’s impossible to avoid bobbing your head. A catchy piano chord progression drives the song, and flickers of insane synthetic beeps and bops ring out above it all. There’s something transfixing about the song; tribal-esque synths sounding almost like steel drums ring out in a complex arpeggio than a typical intermission does.
All in all, this is a very enjoyable EP. I’m excited to see what this duo does next, and I really think they should keep the project going after their studies.
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