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Ocean Songs from the Year of the Horse

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Aireline - Minneapolis, MN

 

The music of Aireline can be described as pleasantly refreshing and unique. The quartet hailing from Murfreesboro, TN fuse their rock roots with their love for classical music resulting in a sound that is both elegant and edgy. While decidedly more rock than Bach, Aireline incorporates elements of classical composition and orchestration complete with developing themes, well thought instrumentation, and lush arrangements. When combined with creative songwriting, a knack for good melody, and a driving rhythm section, these elements come together to form a sound that is sometimes beautiful, sometimes explosive, but always artistic and creative.

The four members of Aireline are vocalist/pianist/guitarist Mason Frenzel, guitarist/keyboardist Chris McMurtry, bassist Matt Mosley, and drummer James Foutch. First assembling in December of 2000, Aireline formed from the break-up of two prominent Nashville bands, Caesar’s Glass Box and Harmonium. Frenzel and Mosley had played together in Caesar’s Glass Box while McMurtry and Foutch were former band mates in Harmonium. When both bands broke up in the late 90’s, the newly orphaned members of Aireline saw the doors opening for a new musical home. For more than six months they rehearsed together, exploring musical ideas and experimenting with different sounds and instruments. The result was a collection of songs that would eventually comprise the majority of their first album, Ocean Songs From the Year of the Horse, recorded with producer Phil Gharib.

Since then Aireline have been playing out and touring as much as possible, winning fans and garnering support with their intense and energetic live show. Just as in their songwriting, on stage Aireline bring together their musical influences combining a lively presence that is unmistakably rock n’ roll and an understanding of their instruments that sets them apart from much of the modern rock scene.

Opening with Legionnaire, Aireline makes its case up front with a deeply considered arrangement, Mason Frenzel’s rolling piano leads and guitarist Chris McMurtry’s tense, arpeggio-laden counterpoints that recall Bends-era Radiohead. Frenzel’s vocals, meanwhile, are well matched for the high drama of the music on display here, alternating between falsetto and a kind of resigned, melancholic breathiness. On tracks such as ‘Me and The Sea’ and the pipe organ-assisted ‘Rest Your Bones’, the effect, digested with Frenzel’s acute sense of melody, is stirring. Standouts also include the dreamlike ‘How I Spent My Time In The City’, which devolves into controlled chaos, and the slinky, uptempo ‘People Like These’.

Taken as a whole, the impression that Aireline delivers on this debut, not to mention the subtly precise song structures and a secret-weapon rhythm section, make Ocean Songs From The Year Of The Horse a notable, promising release. – The Nashville Rage

Mason, Matt, and TimbreOcean Songs accomplishes the semi-rare task of having every musical part interesting on its own, but cohesing into a smooth unit when combined. Bass lines add flavor to the mix instead of just keeping the rhythm, drums that explode into a controlled frenzy or quietly keep things moving, soaring guitar solos, haunting piano, and vocals with harmonies in all the right places make up just a few of the elements that gel the album together so well.

The album presents itself strongly throughout its 42 minutes of playing time. Strangely enough, the majority of the songs have a very dark tone to them, even though they are catchy and certainly worthy of a good head-bobbing. The especially poignant album opener ‘Legionnaire’, the spooky to groove laden ‘Rest Your Bones’, the breezy to forceful ‘People Like These’, and the frantic ‘Traveling Through Dangerous Scenery are all great examples of this. – SilentUproar.com

If you’re in the mood for spacey, guitar-reverbing, piano-driven rock, then check out Aireline. Their first album, Ocean Songs from the Year of the Horse, is an extremely impressive effort. The keys give a hypnotic feel to some of their songs while a pipe organ on ‘Rest Your Bones’ is reminiscent of the gravity found in a Beethoven composition or old church hymn. – Relevant Magazine

James - DrumsFrom the darkly engaging first track ‘Legionnaire’, the songs progress logically and show a band brimming with creativity and inventiveness. -Southeast Performer Magazine

‘How I Spent My Time in the City’ is a self-exposing portrayal of life; ‘The Ghosts Below’ and the entire CD, Ocean Songs from the Year of the Horse is breath taking. – Sensored Magazine

These eight songs feature nearly as many pianos as guitars, but the keyboards are primarily more Bach than Ben Folds. One of the best tracks, ‘Rest Your Bones’, has as its lead instrument a commanding, glorious pipe organ. Another, ‘How I Spent My Time in the City’, wraps its meditation on urban disillusion around a mournful, classical piano cadence. Not that the keys always entirely outshine the guitars; fiery, abrasive, nearly funky six string shards disrupt throughout ‘Traveling Through Dangerous Scenery’, and a clean but metal-friendly riff opens and powers ‘The Ghosts Below’. Sometimes the stringed and keyed instruments work beautifully in tandem, as on the three-note figure that echoes back and forth between the two on ‘Legionnaire’. – Splendid E-Zine.com

Ocean Songs from the Year of the Horse, Aireline’s debut album, is a magnificent display of poetry sung to melodic alternative rock. From the first song to the last, Ocean Sons from the Year of the Horse will continue to amaze and impress any listener with the beautifully poetic lyrics…” – Score Music MagazineChris - guitar

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