ALBUM REVIEW: Aleph by Private World

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WRITTEN BY: Vince Barreras

Aleph is the debut full-length for Private World put out on the legendary experimental label Dias Records. The Cardiff, UK band combines sweet poppy riffs, dancy synth lines, poetic and soothing vocals, and other new wave elements to create a truly beautiful piece that will engage listeners from start to finish. The band consists of members Tom Sanders and Harry Jowett. The duo “aims to transfer composition, texture, and spatial balance to the pop discourse.” They work with many elements in these songs like complex guitar and synths and add other poppy elements that fans will enjoy that create this playful, but intense experience, including a strong sax solo! Before the release of this record, Private World were dropping loose singles here and there, but this full length allows for their vision to be fully fleshed out, and the result is nothing short of spectacular. 

The album begins with this nice intro “A Private World” that has a building synth and lowkey instrumentation that’s almost ambient, and effortlessly flows into “Blue Spirit” and shows more of a jazz laden sound that the duo want to aim for that’s both meticulous constructed but so catchy. Something has to be said for the hypnotic vocals of Tom Sanders that call to mind those of the band Choir Boy. They are sullen, relaxing, and intense. They pour with emotion and blend so well with the jazzy, and indie elements of Sanders and Jowett. “Hypnagogia” is a standout track that gives off this late-night vibe of pleasant and sweet guitar riffs and synth. Towards the end the listener is treated with a powerful saxophone solo that complements these really low-key instrumentation of the track. It morphs into a kind of jazz infused pop that is so different from anything anyone is putting out now when it comes to pop music, a kind of ode to the pop of the past. 

“Somethin’ Special” brings up the energy and sounds something like a Peter Gabriel track, only with Private World’s signature sound. “Chasm” keeps that energy and build off it with Sanders exploring a higher vocal range then previous as the instrumentation moves higher up as well with a more pronounced drum and bass section. That sweet saxophone can still be heard in the background of the track and is truly a beautiful addition. “Spine” brings it back to the laid-back sounds of the previous songs, and “Alien Funeral” finds a nice middle ground.  “Jones to Engel (Pierrot)” serves as the concluding track and finds itself being a slow burner. Sanders summons all that’s left of his emotional vocals to really end this record on such a high note, as the instrumentation fades out and the record concludes.

Private World crafted a beautiful piece of pop music with this record. They didn’t just go for the clichés of the genre, instead they chose to get more intricate with their playing, and explore different avenues that would help the band stand out, and the results worked. Sanders and Jowett really pushed each other to find the perfect balance of synth and indie pop but added more intricate elements such as jazzy guitars and saxophone sections that added more depth and layers to their music. The vocals of Sanders are also a sound to behold. They are truly deep and authentic as they come. Dais Records hits another home run with this signing and Private World put out one of the best records of 2020.

For Fans of: Choir Boy, Lust for Youth, True Body

Tracklist:

  1. A Private World
  2. Blue Spirit
  3. Birdy
  4. Hypnagogia
  5. Magic Lens
  6. Somethin’ Special
  7. Chasm
  8. Spine
  9. Alien Funeral
  10. Jones to Engel (Pierrot)

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