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MUSIC REVIEW: THE ACES – Under My Influence

| 15 July 2020 | Reply

Label: Red Bull Records

Release Date: July 17, 2020

Rating: 92%

Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

The Aces first caught my attention with their last release, but I was really blown away and declared myself a fan after catching them live at a small venue in Detroit last year.  Once I heard about the new material coming, I couldn’t wait to check it out.  Disc opener “Daydream” is contagious pop rock gold.  The vocals are great and perfectly float across the rhythm section and guitars in the production.  The vibe of the track gets the collection off on the right foot and sets the bar for the other tracks, which gets raised as the disc moves along.  “New Emotion” keeps the pop vibe alive, but the guitar riff that opens the track and permeates the entire song is fun and keeps the song in check.  The chorus kicks in and we are off and running… for the dance floor.  The tempo is cool and keeps things from getting stale or overdone.  “Can You Do” has a different groove woven into the songs musical composition.  The song has a Maroon 5 flavor to it, and if you are going for pop-rock goodness, that’s a great target.  The drums and bass stand out on this one and create the perfect foundation for the song sonically.  “I Can Break Your Heart Too” sounds different but doesn’t veer too far from the musical path cut by the other tracks on the disc.  This is one of those songs that comes across as a mellower song, but one pass through the lyrics and we realize this is the result of a heartbreak and love lost.  The syllabic pace of the verse and transitions are a great contradiction to Cristal’s voice on the chorus and bridge.  “Cruel” is a song that grabs my attention each listen through the 14 tracks.  The cadence gets my foot tapping and the catchy chorus begs you to absorb the lyric and sing along.

“My Phone Is Trying To Kill Me” was my introduction to the new material… and I was hooked.  The song has a more produced feel and sound to it, but it suits the band and disc well.  The lyrics are fun and the vibe of the track helps elevate the disc from the bar initially set by the opening song.  This is one that should get hands (and phones) in the air in a live situation.  “All Mean Nothing” has some cool guitar work from Katie Henderson woven into the songs sound that perfectly offsets the bass lines and supports the vocals that lift the chorus.  This song has a unique vibe that seems high energy without running away from itself.  The lead vocal on the chorus and bridge are delivered with precision and draw you in.  “Lost Angeles” is another song that kicks the disc up a notch.  The vibe of this one is fun the cadence plays well with the lyrics.  The pop vibe is alive and well, especially when the drums and bass seem to kick in more at the chorus.  I have caught myself singing along on more than one occasion to this catchy track.  “Thought Of You” is a beautiful track that I find myself going back to time and time again.  There is something about the bottom end from bassist McKenna Patty that has a thunderous sound without being overpowering.  The vibe of the song has a nostalgic feel and sound to it that draws you in and allows you to enjoy the lyrics and sentiment of the song… especially for anyone that has fallen in love.

“Kelly” is a great track that allows Cristal to deliver an emotionally charged lyric that resonates with you long after the song has ended.  The swirl of steady guitar, percussion, and bass lines help support the song.  There are glimpses of guitar work on the transitions that reflect a late 90’s / early 2000’s Carlos Santana.  “801” is an interesting song sonically, as it starts off slow and slowly unfolds, unlike a lot of the songs on the disc that are mellow and stay that way or pop rock tracks that are energy-filled from the outset.  This one never revs up or peaks, but rather just cruises along the musical landscape of the track.  “Not Enough” is a song that ties together quite a few tracks, as it has the different sounds and textures of the varied tracks and swirls them into one song.  The layered vocals on the chorus is thick and adds a bit of depth to the track.  The percussion fills that build through the verse and into the chorus from Alisa Ramirez ad to the songs feel.  “Going Home” has a great guitar sound that opens the track and swirls in the mix with Alisa’s drums and Cristal’s vocals.  The mellower vibe of the track, which is the longest of the collection, lulls you into a pop comfort zone that sets you up for the close of the disc.  Closer “Zillionaire” is a great track to wrap up disc.  The groove is contagious and the vibe triggers you to kick start the disc from the top in order to enjoy these songs all over again… and again… and again…  I cannot wait to see the band do what they do best in front of a live audience and bring some of these great songs to the masses.

Tracklisting: Daydream – New Emotion – My Phone Is Trying To Kill Me – Kelly – Can You Do – All Mean Nothing – 801 – I Can Break Your Heart Too – Lost Angeles – Not Enough – Cruel – Thought Of You – Going Home – Zillionaire

Lineup: Cristal Ramirez (vocals, guitar) – Alisa Ramirez (drums) – McKenna Petty (bass) – Katie Henderson (lead guitar)

THE ACES LINKS:

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UNDER MY INFLUENCE – ITUNES

Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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