Album Review: AØK – Waves
After making music for eight years, Grand Rapids indie-pop duo AØK have decided to call it quits, but not before releasing one last set of dance inducing tracks. Guitarist Kyle Sullivan and singer Angela Teeple (aka Angela B) wanted to ensure that their farewell EP, Waves, would send them out on the high note so they pulled out all the stops.
The duo enlisted another talented Michigan artist Tunde Olaniran to help co-write a few of the songs and used keyboardist Bryan Pope (JR JR) to add some keyboards. Olaniran also introduced Sullivan and Teeple to producer Jon Zott and Assemble Sound. The duo worked tirelessly to bring their fans the most personal set of songs that they’ve ever crafted.
Waves opens up with “Back Burner,” which is about the uncertain period of love and infatuation when you may be ready to go all in but you aren’t a priority to the other person. The track starts with a quick build of an infectious beat that should immediately have you up and moving.
Like “Back Burner,” there’s a danceable quality to “HiBms.” It has a beat that you can’t help dancing along to but there’s also an underlying darkness to the track. The driving beat behind the track has an almost hypnotizing sinister feeling to it. It’s hard to resist falling under AØK’s spell on this one.
AØK’s dark side continues to shine through on “Howl.” The dark synths that kick the song off are reminiscent of The War on Drugs. The synths compliment Teeple’s vocals nicely on the opening verse and build to the chorus. “Howl” is the perfect example of just how AØK can craft a catchy electro-pop hook.
Waves closes out with “Something More,” a track that’s a bit of a slow burn. The backing music behind Teeple’s haunting vocals is minimal at first, building ever so slightly to the first chorus before dropping off completely again. The track builds again, stacking layers upon layers before backing off completely again before the final build to the end.
The listener is left wanting more as “Something More” fades out which, I’m sure, is just what Sullivan and Teeple want. While they haven’t ruled out revisiting AØK again, there’s no promise that we’ll get new music from the duo. Thankfully, they’ve left us with one more infectious batch of songs before saying goodbye to AØK.