Following the success of their 2018 album When My Heart Felt Volcanic, the Utah based indie-pop band had a lively two years. From opening for 5 Seconds of Summer to going on their first headline tour, The Aces spent most of their time travelling and touring the world, with no mentions of further releases. However, in March 2020, that all changed as The Aces announced on Instagram the beginning of a new era for the band. New music was on the horizon and finally, The Aces released their highly anticipated sophomore album, Under My Influence.
The Aces have an undeniable talent for crafting stories about heartbreak, friendship and the mistakes we make as we go through life, evinced by their debut When My Heart Felt Volcanic. Though Under My Influence tells similar stories, the emotions written into the new album feel even more real and raw. There is a subtle heaviness to Under My Influence which is a refreshing contrast compared to their first album, which was light and playful. The songs The Aces have written speak to millennials and Gen Z’s on a much more personal level. Each lyric is a vivid tale of evolving and feeling lost throughout your youth. It is exciting to watch the indie-pop quartet step away from the easy-going mannerism of When My Heart Felt Volcanic and give us an album packed with vulnerability and honesty.
The first two album tracks ‘Daydream’ and ‘New Emotion’ are filled with zesty upbeat tempos that introduce us to what Under My Influence is about. Then The Aces hit us with the third track ‘My Phone is Trying to Kill Me’. The slower beats and lyrics “I’mma put down my phone, cause it makes me feel so alone / On read I feel hopeless / Trying to live in the moment / I check that screen just one more time / My phone is trying to kill me”, truly resonate with living in such a digital world. The longing we get for instant replies to our messages and the loneliness of social media is a very real part of our world now, and The Aces have truly encapsulated how obsessive our thoughts can be when we get left on read.
As the album continues to build, the grittiness of the lyrics begin to climb out from the funky and youthful beats of the songs. The tracks ‘Kelly’ and ‘All Means Nothing’ leave you heartbroken , whilst ‘801’ and ‘Lost Angeles’ take you to America with nostalgia and solitude packed into your suitcase. As the album comes to an end the guitar softens and the bass and drums begin to mellow out, allowing us to process the tenderness Under My Influence has left us with.
Under My Influence may have slightly strayed away from the uplifting nature of The Aces’ earlier work but there is still that signature tropical summery musicality. With this record, the act has an edge of newfound maturity. It is undeniable that The Aces have a newfound strength when it comes to pouring authenticity into their music, and as the indie-pop band continues to evolve it is invigorating to think about how much more distinctive and candid The Aces future music releases will be.
Words by Emmie Cosgrove
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