[20 October 2008]
After just two EPs, Bay Area rockers The Aimless Never Miss have delivered a full-length debut marked by the type of maturity and consistent vision usually seen in far more veteran acts. This is a band that knows who it is and their forward-thinking, forward-moving ways shine through each of the nine tracks presented here. Their playing is characterized by tendencies that suggest the influence of mid-to-late ‘90s alt-rock: comfort with The Smashing Pumpkins’ noise rock dynamics, the sprawling guitars and atmospherics of Radiohead. Coupled with a definite degree of originality, the band’s influences are made manifest in a sound that approaches a louder, more visceral version of Death Cab for Cutie. Vocalist Jon Latimer’s tone floats above the music a la Ben Gibbard but his band’s contributions are heavier, their rhythmic heartbeat a bit more accelerated.
According to their website, The Aimless Never Miss began as a recording identity for Latimer before growing into a full-fledged quartet. The group’s songs reflect both the steadying hand of a central figure and the creativity found in collaboration. Opening tune “The Point of Playing” is a beautiful, stretched-out track which showcases the band’s musical strengths (i.e. tuneful guitars, Latimer’s vocals, a willingness to let arrangements expand and evolve gradually); song two, “The Bright Side” analyzes social advancement by parsing the mantra “progress is everything,” allowing listeners to glimpse the group’s worldview. In the album’s mid-section, “Dresden” and “Bound” prove another excellent couplet; both tracks bound along with restrained energy and a great sense of melody.
This self-titled record seems the true start of something special; although some days it seems indie rock fans have discovered every archetype and can’t possibly accomondate another group of young upstarts, The Aimless Never Miss can immediately step into that world, fill a void and make an impact.