Aranda – Not The Same (Album Review By: MelodicEnmity)
I would like to start off by stating that this is an overwhelmingly positive review for Aranda’s “Not The Same,” but that I had to take a different approach. Below is my journey and the thoughts I had along the way while I formulated that conclusion.
I am going to be honest by telling you that getting to this very moment, finishing this review, was a bit difficult for me. Here’s why: Musicians in bands are people, just like everyone else. We suffer, we fight our own inner demons, we learn, we mature. No amount of money, fame, or success can truly change our inner nature. To quote The Beatles, “you can’t buy me love.”
I struggled with this review for one reason specifically: Aranda’s “Not The Same” is drastically different than their two previous releases. So, before you say, or well, think anything…yes, I acknowledge that this is the natural progression of music. Change happens. But, “Not The Same” took me by complete surprise. Normally bands follow a pretty straight line, making it is easy enough to hear how they progressed from one album to the other. In this case, the Aranda brothers have taken my understanding of band maturation and turned it upside down. There is nothing linear or predictable about the jump from “Stop The World” to “Not The Same.” In fact, the last time I recall such a drastic change would be with Simon Says’ “Jump Start” (1999) to their follow-up, “Shut Your Breath” (2001), almost 15 years ago. Here’s the funny thing though, as gloomy as this review may seem so far; it really is not meant to be. I am merely explaining why this review gave me challenge. “Not The Same” is anything but typical, and that is a good thing. Maybe I should have even expected something like this with a title as such. They knew they were bringing something different to the table, owned it, and should be lauded for being so bold.
Aranda brought forth a new sound with all new complexities to be discovered. On one side I sense familiarity, while on the other I feel as if I had witnessed something that I had yet to sonically experience. I did not know exactly what I was dealing with when I was first given “Not The Same.” It was as if I was learning about and hearing Aranda for the first time, all over again. While “Not The Same” is a definite departure from the band’s hard, active rock edge, Aranda has very successfully brought forth what I can only describe as an experimental classic rock influence merged with modern rock music. While, yes, even though hard rock with a classic rock infusion is a common style nowadays, Aranda seems to do it differently. Aranda has managed to take the most enticing plays from the best and brightest that the 60’s and 70’s offered us, along with the styles and influences that made them who they are in the first place and mixed it all together in an enormous amalgamation.
At the beginning of this article I mentioned that musicians are people too and that they struggle just as much as everyone else. For Aranda, one of those struggles is addiction; arguably one of the biggest demons out there to have to fight in this life. Furthermore, just by listening to “Not The Same,” you can hear their struggle, yet the album still maintains to carry a positive message about making it through and to keep looking forward. The musical craftsmanship on this record is top-notch, while melody soars over the top and into your mind. Kato Khandwala’s production on this record is absolutely divine as well. Simply said, the songs themselves are catchy, and once they grab a hold of you, they will not let you go. That said, this album is a must buy!
My only suggestion to Aranda fans that have yet to listen to “Not The Same” is to go in with an open mind and let it grow on you. You will not be disappointed!