The Aliens Luna
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Definition of Alien:
Foreigner: a person who comes from a foreign country.
Stranger: anyone who does not belong in the environment in which they are found.
Extraterrestrial being: a form of life assumed to exist outside the Earth or its atmosphere.
I would argue that 'The Aliens' fall under all three variations of the definition. The Aliens, former Beta Band members Gordon Anderson, John Maclean, and Robin Jones, all hail from Scotland. Their outlandish sound makes it difficult to place them today's music scene, essentially making them a stranger to the industry. And their sound is so unique and 'out of this world' that one has to question as to whether or not they are actually from this planet.
In 'The Aliens' sophomore effort 'Luna', the album opens with the track:
A harmonica lays down the feel for the song and is soon accompanied by a melodic guitar riff. Soothing vocals ease in to take turns with the harmonica singing "Come sing along now it's the bobby's song / Something that I want to say / I'll never let you walk away / I'm gonna to write you a song today." The verse is repeated once more followed by an electronic breakdown into more guitar licks. These licks are strummed out while Gordon Anderson backs with harmonious vocals. The song continues to digress into a slightly more electronic direction when suddenly at the 4:18 mark it transforms into a Polka dance. Rapid fire lyrics bounce with the the beat of the song. Transition after transition, the song finally climaxes at the 8:50 mark and slowly fades away for the next 2 minutes.
Originally this track was said to be a mashup of many tracks they had written. They decided to combine them all together which resulted in a 30 minute song. Obviously the final version was cut down to 10:26.(4,5/5)
Organs seep in for the next track. Chanting vocals boom as you faintly hear a cassette tape being loaded. The transition is ready. A short but sweet track that paves way for the next. (5/5)
The cassette plays. An almost oriental sound is paired with strings as vocals sing "Theremin / She was a big heartbreaker / Theremin / Knew in the end he'd take her / Theremin / Why did I make and break her / Theremin / Nobody could remake her." The tape is removed. You hear walking and cars passing by. You enter a vehicle and the tape is placed into the car. Theremin is played but much more simplistic. All you hear are the sounds of passing cars along with a lone piano. A truly unique and beautiful track.(5/5)
Bursting into the airwaves is a much more upbeat piano. Build up to vocal harmonies saying "Everyone / They're in the sunshine / Everyone / Go get the sunrise in the morning." A very happy track, acting as a counter to the sad sounding Theremin.(4.5/5)
Mellowed out power-chords methodically burst in and a keyboard bounces along. The lyrics "I just want to take you to the sun / Gonna get out of here / Gonna take you where you want to go / You can follow the sun" are delivered sing-along style. Eventually we are led to the chorus "Magic / Magic / Magic Man / Watching the space wherever you can go / Bake me a cake and I'll do a handstand / Anywhere you want to go you can come and let me know". Spritz in a nice solo halfway through it becomes clear that this track is supposed to be the single. A very easy listen at first but in the end I find this to be the most shallow track on the album.(3.5/5)
In comes a rock ballad. This track is really an epic journey through social rejection and the eventual fighting escape from insanity. "Lost inside chasms of my mind / They go on / They go on / Forever". A crowd cheers, the ballad has begun. "Tell me when your gonna rest with your mind". Epic. Words do this song no justice. Melodies, harmonies, lyrics, emotion, solos, and just plain rockin' parts.(5/5)
Spacey sounds. This track really fails to even sound like it is song. It seems to be more of an interlude or intermission for the album. Somewhat interesting of a listen. Similar concept to the track "On the Run" by Pink Floyd on Dark Side of the Moon.(2/5)
A slightly sad, mostly indifferent soundscape is laid out before us. Vocals barely stand out from the instrumentals. Then kicks in the best solo on the album. Something about this solo seems to be dripping with emotion. A very bittersweet track which is made by the second half.(4/5)
Another happy go-lucky song kicks in. A poignant piano jumps across our ears as the bassline bumbles alongside. Gordon Anderson sings "I tried to be there / I tried to be everywhere" as he infects our ears with pure, unadulterated optimism. Midway through the song breaks down into a jig and the vocals go "I let you go / Now I feel the show / Everyone now / Gonna get down / To the Sunlamp Show". The song slowly but surely plays itself out.(4.5/5)
A fast paced and chaotic song. I didn't enjoy this track and thought it didn't fit at all.(1.5/5)
A keyboard creates a texture of sound that sets a very serious mood. The guitar slowly strums out a melody that is a near perfect match. In roll the vocals that only add to this dream we are in. As the song progresses, strings and chanting come in to amplify the mood. As the all the instruments begin to fade, the strings stay strong to finish out.(5/5)
The guitars on this track forever compliment the spacey lyrics "You think only boats can sink but you can't get in the harbor". Guitars layered on guitars layered on guitars to fabricate the most elaborate of songs. A true gem.(5/5)
Strings sadly sing as you hear over a communication device "Space calling fighter X / If you look inside your suitcase / You will find your magic tie". In comes Anderson's prominent vocals "I lived in a house on the other side of the moon / Where the people drive in the greenest life / In the greenest life / I sailed in a boat / To the other side of the sun / The people were pleasant there too / I swam the milk / On the way I drank a star / I could not find a place to stay". The spacey backdrop to the vocals creates a pure and awesome atmosphere. The song provides a sweet ending to the album with a reprise of 'Bobby's Song' in the closing minutes. Couldn't have imagined a better way to close out the album.(5/5)
When you combine the myriad of strange and foreign sounds on this album, you can conclude that it is beyond unique. As the album progresses and your ears peel back layer upon layer it is revealed that there is something of true substance. These former Beta-Band members have crafted something beyond it's time and place. So give this album a spin and remember, The Aliens have landed.