Talented duo mines a fertile hard-rock vein
Aina Haina is a Portland-based two-piece consisting of Mike Ailes on guitar and vocals, with Dylan Magierek on drums and vocals. The two have been involved in the music business for years, so you'd expect these guys to be able to kick out the jams, and they can. Unlike bluesier two-pieces (the Black Keys, Little Hurricane, Black Pistol Fire) or alt-garage outfits like the White Stripes and Viva Voce, Aina Haina plough a straight ahead hard-rock furrow, with a wide-open riff-heavy sound on tracks like the excellent opener "I Wouldn’t Let Me In If I Were You" and the crunching rocker "Merisel". Things slow down a bit for the Neil Young-ish "I Can't Feel You Anymore", but the rawk is never far away. All in all this is a great little set of tunes.
And therein lies the frustration: it's a great little set. At only six tracks, this 24-minute EP matches the song total of 2009's The Equator EP, but 12 songs in four years is paltry for such a promising duo. Doubtless their commitments elsewhere take up much of their time, but Ailes and Magierek have a good thing going here. More please, fellas -- and a full-length would be much appreciated.