ALIGN IN TIME- ‘On a Spiral’

John Boles talks a good game. He recommends ‘On a Spiral’, only his second album as Align In Time in the last decade, for fans of Maybeshewill, Caspian and Tides of Man. Unfortunately, he talks himself into a hole. There’s little of the rare, vivid qualities so easily associated with any of those acts here. Instead, from the careful beginning of ‘Never Far’ to the busy conclusion of ‘I Go Too’, this is a record of rigid, dry imitations. There’s some progressive tendencies, and some twinkly alt rock stuff, so it avoids being completely post-rock by numbers, but too many tracks are just there. Much of ‘On a Spiral’ might work soundtracking some sentimental movie moment but it can’t stir emotions on its own. This is montage rock. It is impressive that Boles has put it together all by himself but even at its best moments there’s little escaping the feeling that he’s done it as a designer, as an architect even, instead of as someone compelled to create. 

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