Very rarely do you come across a band who can convey so much raw emotion in an album without a single vocal, but enter Align In Time, the musical alias of John Boles. On his second album, On A Spiral, Boles is able to convey a wide range of emotions in a storytelling approach similar to a film score. It’s a perfect album to throw on in the background while you want to escape from all of the other outside noise of the world. With rich influences that range from the post-rock elements of Circa Survive to the emo-tinged guitars of Jimmy Eat World, Align In Time is perfectly in tune with who they are and have created a soundtrack worthy of immediate praise and consideration.
When describing this record, Boles said, “I wrote this album to remind me of who and what I love and have lost. And those aren’t isolated emotional events—they recur, they converge and conflict with each other, they’re constantly subject to reinterpretation. I’ve tried to capture that feeling of never having your perspective or your sense of purpose figured out.” With such a wide range of sounds and feelings that come pouring through the speakers, I’d say John Boles achieved his musical goals in more ways than one on On A Spiral.
The album opens cautiously with the intricate guitar strumming on “Never Far” and instantly takes the listener on a unique musical journey as the rest of the record unfolds. From songs like the drum-heavy “This is Later” that is reminiscent of prog-rock bands such as Coheed & Cambria to the soft-loud dynamic of Circa Survive on songs such as “Two Ways,” it’s clear that Align In Time have carefully thought out each chord progression, each note, and each breakdown with precision.
The first single, “Finish It,” really encapsulates everything that Boles can create when he’s firing on all artistic cylinders. With a pop-rock vibe in the verses to the introspective feelings in the middle of the track, the song explores several layers of emotions that will ultimately make you feel something.
Overall, this is a great record to put on while you are searching for some creativity in your own life, as Align In Time have poured in so much of their own creative mojo to make the listener feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves. Sophomore albums are rarely this well thought out, and Align In Time are truly headed in the right direction.