The Aces – I’ve Loved You For So Long: Review

The Aces don’t forget who they are and what makes them so distinct beyond treading genre lines of Synth-Pop. Throughout their career, they have been tackling varying dimensions of pop, whether internal or external, as they establish a base without gender being a tag and becoming something unique on their own. They’ve built a base with intricate sonic layering, bolstering the contextual identity of the production, allowing them to separate from some of its simplistic percussion and string patterns, which becomes slightly less apparent on their new album, I’ve Loved You For So Long. Though past albums made the directional minimalism feel profound when constructing these enigmatic rock anthems, they still have flavor as they continue to steer focus towards the strings and synthesizers – more so the former, which has its share of solos and quick licks that you can’t help but keep latching, especially with the synergy it brings with the performances. As viscerally gripping as their hooks are, they still come second to the written verses that establish thematic poignancy within the crevices of their words and shine through with viscosity, despite the album hooking you, unlike their last output, Under My Influence.

As lead vocalist Cristal Ramirez would tell Capital Music DC, “we are just a band! I don’t see why people have to see gender all the time and make it a thing. But at the same time, it is unique and it is a strength of ours that we are all women. We wanna inspire other girls, and we get that all the time–fans coming up to us and being like ‘oh my gosh you guys are so inspiring I wanna be in the music industry’ or ‘I wanna start a band.’” They do so in more ways than none, especially as they lay their bare arms open so the emotional complexities of their writing express its dimensions vividly, allowing a listener to delve deeper into the music, even through the tumbles, and get something more than its creative greatness. They amplify their voice by weaving tracks with connectivity by driving home parallels which get grounded by how they get told, specifically as they bridge language and have a feeling for their listener. 

In the song “Miserable,” we hear The Aces, specifically Cristal Ramirez, sing about feeling and living miserably, “Sad I didn’t go to college/And all my life-long friends aren’t calling/Well at least I’m so successful/How can I complain?” and “When did life become so dull?/Since when was 25 so old?/Always told aging was tricky/Especially in this plastic city,” in the second and third verse respectively. The song has a heavy instrumental core, bringing an intriguing contrast with the livelier strings and percussion, almost as if there is some regret towards the past, leading to this semi-lonely life on the road, and past friends seem to live happier. With a sheer focus on being a band first, they bring nuance to their stylistic blend of Alt-Rock/New Wave/Synth Pop, producing and weaving different influential textures to create the whole and form something more representative of them, like with “Girls Make Me Wanna Die” or “Younger.”  Not like “Attention” or “Always Get This Way,” which are written brilliantly, despite everything around it missing more consistently.

Keith Varon co-produces the album, but the Aces still create for themselves, and seeing them try these different directions that aren’t as lavish as Under My Influence, but the volcanic inertia reflecting on them is spectacular; you hear them feel fully connected to their respective instrument as they take it up a notch and let them get the feelers for the bombastic. Especially as Under the Influence gets shifty with the synth-pop whimsy – churning out more sonic complexities than free-flowing thoughts and melody-driven pop songs within an overall cohesion of tracks that transition smoothly. It’s a dominant sticking point to why I thoroughly enjoyed I’ve Loved You For So Long.  It’s like they took the poppy elements from their debut and stretched them out into these beautifully radiant ballads, which further acts like a balancing contrast to the more magnific rock n’ roll of their more emotionally gripping songs. Like the previously mentioned “Girls Make Me Wanna Die,” The Aces sometimes flip between eloquently tethered punky angst blended with the moody pop notes of its chorus, offering us more resoundingly in-depth moments, unlike “Not The Same.” It fills the simple conjectures of Indie-Pop fluidly, but it never gets wholly absorbing, instead sounding like another throwaway balladesque song. 

Unlike the following two songs, “Suburban Blues” and “Person,” which carry a smooth constant from other tracks, and that’s the nuanced modern nostalgia for the pop-punk era of the early 2000s, where we saw more of a headstrong trajectory at letting the bombast boast the melodic synchronicities that have you returning and singing along. Others carry similar levels of synergy, wherein it changes complexions without changing the dimensions of the emotional complexities it bears, as they successfully relay visceral visual stories that coat their themes of loneliness without adding glitz and glamor for attention. But at least there is a consistency in the connectivity between the performer and the production, keeping even the mildest constructions appealing.

I thoroughly enjoyed I’ve Loved You For So Long, despite it coming short of the greatness achieved on their previous release, Under My Influence. However, it’s still the same Aces, keeping it real and delivering with an impact no matter the construction or direction. I’ve had it on replay quite a bit, mainly cause of the writing and melodies, and I know they will hook you too! Give it a listen or two, and let me know what you think about it in the comments below.

Rating: 8 out of 10.