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Album Review: The Aces - When My Heart Felt Volcanic

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After defining their signature sound, fiercely talented four-piece The Aces release their ambitious debut album. 

The Utah-based alt-pop quartet made up of vocalist and guitarist Cristal, her sister Alisa on drums, guitarist Katie and bassist McKenna, first began performing together almost a decade ago. The girls have been playing casually together since the age of 10, under the name The Blue Aces. Now, still in their early twenties, The Aces have refined their sweet, sparkling sound to produce their flirtatious 13-track debut album, When My Heart Felt Volcanic.

Painting the woes and wonders of the female millennial existence with an 80s-smothered brush, The Aces have polished their previously simple and rocky melodies to produce 45 minutes of playful, party-popping tunes. The vivacious and authentic lead vocals of opener ‘Volcanic Love’ set an upbeat tone for the album, supported by a crisp, percussive bassline. The incisive pop hooks of ‘Stuck’ and ‘Fake Nice’ are truly anthemic, enticing its listener to reminisce and revolt past relationships. Imagine Taylor Swift-esque lyrics with a distinct The 1975 sound, and imagine listening to both tracks on a loop until you’re absolutely sick of them. ‘Lovin Is Bible’ is a proper crowd-pleaser, with relatably foolish lyrics “We can paint our love all over town / Watch it go viral” and shines a light on the theme of love in the digital age which echoes throughout the album.

‘Lovin Is Bible’ blends seamlessly into juicy throwback track ‘Just Like That’, which builds up to a crux-point in the album. An oddly uplifting beat, it reaches into the depths of your heartbreak and pulls you clean out the other side with absolute clarity. A breezy, slow build-up explodes in a cataclysmic crescendo of female empowerment, perfect for screaming in your room at the top of your lungs: “You can come get all your t-shirts / Cause I don't like the way I look in them / And just like that, just like that / There's nothing left of you”The latter half of the album showcases Cristal's wide vocal range and softer, more vulnerable tone. The closing track 'Waiting For You' is a mellow, velvety homage to the heartbreak hangover and closes the album like a warm, comforting hug after the night before. 

Despite distinct influences in The Aces’ sound, When My Heart Felt Volcanic feels everlasting in its production. The maturity of this debut album is nourishing, heart-healing and cathartic, with lyrics crafted for a long, hot summer of sunshine and love.

When My Heart Felt Volcanic is out now via Red Bull Records.

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