Both bands sit tidily in the indie-rock bracket, employing a glossy pop sheen to add sparkle to their guitar-led repertoires. There’s another commonality to their radio-friendly sounds in the slick, perfectionist musicianship required to hit that genre-blending sweet spot, something The Aces appear to be aiming for on debut full-length When My Heart Felt Volcanic.
Breakthrough single “Stuck” makes an early appearance, its distinctive guitar line and walloping chorus following opener (and almost title track) “Volcanic Love”. “Stuck” is The Aces at their very best – distilling their no-frills songwriting into a belt-along pop song they’re still yet to top.
“Lovin’ is Bible” is a fun, noodling jam in spite of its horrendous title lyric, with chugging bass and a sprinkling of cowbell making for an enjoyable – if predictable – listen. Similarly predictable, new track “Just Like That” aims for the unbridled joy of bands like MUNA, but falls a little short. It’s a good song, but there’s a vague anonymity to it that keeps it from greatness. “Stay” sees the foursome back on form with a vocal that’s a little less preened and those intricate, catchy guitar lines front and centre. Chucking in a sprinkling of handclaps makes it golden.
Standout track “Put it on the Line” diverges from The Aces’ usual sound and is all the stronger for it. With layered harmonies and understated instrumentation for a good chunk of the track, the band steps away from their everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach to great effect. “Put it on the Line” manages to excite where other tracks leave you a little cold.
In all, When My Heart Felt Volcanic is a breezy, fun debut, but The Aces hardly stray from the road well-travelled. It’s a shame, considering they’re at their best when they push beyond the generic indie-rock song structure.