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Published: 2014/01/11
by Pete Mason

Live Nugs Volume 4

Culled from shows in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and North Carolina this past fall tour, Aqueous’ latest Live release – Live Nugs, Volume 4, is yet another superb sampling of the band’s live performance, and serves as a well crafted introduction for fans not familiar with the rising Buffalo band. With five tracks, none less than 11 minutes long, fans can get a taste of what to expect when Aqueous comes to town.

Opening with “Strange Times”, traces of 90s bands 311, Blink 182 and Green Day are present, with the influence from these bands apparent in their lyrics and song base, but once the lyrics are eschewed, the jamband influence is stark. moe., Umphrey’s and even The Disco Biscuits can be heard in the lead track, as well as “Can’t stop, won’t stop’ lyrics that pre-date Miley Cyrus, for good measure. The fun original “Origami” features playful lyrics and soaring guitar peaks from Mike Gantzer and David Loss’ dueling guitar work that recall 80s hair metal.

The intro segment and lyrics to “All In” can easily be overlooked as you indulge yourself with the ensuing jam. There’s a degree of composition to this improvisation – a framework that is revisited in a prog-rock fashion, but to the untrained ear, it comes off as 100% spur of the moment inventiveness between the four. Just when they hit an ending point, it becomes a launch pad for another segment that muddies the definition of improv once again. This track is a highlight of the live album, as well as in concert. “Complex” is smoother in comparison to the other tracks on the album, while still having a heavy vibe that emerges halfway through, the meaty groove that emerges takes on a rock anthem mantra. The pairing of “All In” and “Complex” is a great choice for the uninitiated Aqueous fan. “King for a Day” has a reggae seam progressing throughout, followed by a mellowing – the first real pause from non-stop rock on the entire disk – growing into a moe.-worthy jam, keeping the proud tradition of great music from Buffalo alive.

You can buy the album here.

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