Signals & Alibis’ Aislada is a 5-track EP with two extra ghost tracks, one of which is a cover of “Kiss Them for Me” by Siouxsie & the Banshees, and it is the first release the band has recorded as a three-piece with new bass player/keyboardist Joshua Beene who also engineered and mixed the EP.
Mastered by J. Britt Robisheaux at Cloudland Recording Studio in Fort Worth, Aislada is a gorgeous little EP filled with warm synths, delicate keys, the intense guitar work of Brian Carter and the dreamy voice of Rebecca Jozwiak.
More than anything Aislada displays an incredible attentiveness to the breadth and depth to what shoegaze can do in the space of half an hour.
Starting off with a heavy, distorted bass line and unsettling, high-pitched tones, “Glitch” is a head-nodder for sure, and it might just get those shoes you’re gazing at up and moving.
A song filled with fanciful echoes, “Safety Net” feels like a dream on the verge of becoming a nightmare. The pacing of the drums set against the backdrop of whimsical keyboards give the song a haunting atmosphere quietly disrupted by a recurring electronic beeping as if there’s an alarm clock going that you just can’t snooze.
“Miss Mary” begins with a low and slow crawl, with Jozwiak’s voice luring the listener into false sense of security as her voice moves from calm resignation to a sneer in the line “Miss Mary aren’t you quite contrary / Where’s your comfort now?”
In the EP’s title track, “Aislada,” Spanish for “isolated,” the band traps the listener in a quiet storm. Taking their time to build an eerie environment in a dark cloud of drums and the rolling thunder of synths, the keys begin a slow rain followed by the downpour of a guitar.
Beginning as a sparse track unafraid of negative space, the EP’s last official track “Bottomfeeder” erupts at the minute mark into an echoing soundscape resisting negativity and calling it out for what it is – “scum.”
By the time the listener gets to the “Kiss Them for Me” cover, Signals & Alibis has proven their right to tackle the post-punk classic, and they do it with much respect to the original while making it their own, preferring an even darker ambiance and unhurried pace.
At the EP’s close, “After All” sounds brighter than the rest of the EP – not in the sense that it is upbeat, but in the sense that it feels like the music played in a film sequence where an angel comes out of the heavens to rescue the protagonist from the darkness that has fallen. The theme of everpresence in the lyrics only adds to that image.
Aislada is an EP that feels timeless in its approach to synth-heavy post-punk. In the end, when Jozwiak sings “time doesn’t matter here,” we believe her.