Written by: Vincent Nijenhuis
Aye Nako newest release, Silver Haze, is fine. It’s inoffensive, and far from being a bad album on a technical level, but it’s just forgettable. The band describes their music as “sad punk songs about being queer, trans, and black” which I would agree with with the exception of “sad punk.” These are not sad songs. These are polite, seemingly contrived, melancholia songs. The closest this album gets to being sad is on how none of the songs sound different from one another and simply melt into each other without defining their need to exist. There is no bite. There is no poison. There is no danger, or even catharsis. It just exists. This is an album that gives us a fake knife, and ketchup when need a blade and exposed flesh. This entire album just feel disingenuous.
This album relies far too much on their influences than daring to create something new, and original. The parts of this album are all good by themselves. The slushed guitar, the beautiful and poignant lyrics, and the 90s alt aesthetic are all good in concept. The guitar riffs are played with skill, but each one sound like any other guitar riff off a Breeders record. There’s nothing unique about them. The lyrics have power when I wrote them down on a piece of paper trying to make sense of them. On the album, they are just gargled, and hard to understand and lack any sort of poignancy which is a shame since so much of the album is about “being queer, trans, and black” which. Frankly, we need more albums of queer trans people of color talking about their lived experiences. This album deserves to exist simply for that reason alone, but I wish it had another reason.
This album is yet another indie band being ‘inspired’ by the 90s that do not have an earned nostalgia for. Similarly to Speedy Ortiz’s 2015 release, Foiled Deer, they are clearly inspired by the 90s alt sounds of the likes of The Breeders, and Smashing Pumkins, but don’t never dare establish a sound all their own. Silver Haze ends up being an album with great ideas watered down to a reductive version of a forgettable album to come out in 1994 instead of another Live Through This.