Bands don't always like to admit their influences — after all, at some point your musical environment just becomes second nature. Ahead of releasing its first album in six years, the ever-evolving rock band Aloha recently offered a "Deep '80s" playlist of works that inspired Little Windows Cut Right Through, from Steve Roach's bubbling synths to Iron Curtain's somber and grandiose pop to Prefab Sprout's glossy soul. It's not only refreshing, but also a telling look at the sonic excavation that went into Little Windows -- a rhythmically rich album bent on grand pop gestures and airy atmospheres.

In "Faraway Eyes," bright synths bounce to acoustic/electric guitars and polyrhythmic percussion (synthetic and not), with the occasional jump up the scale from the vibraphone. Tony Cavallario's soft and reaching tenor is, as ever, the centering agent. It's also the calming presence when, halfway through, Aloha dives into heavy cosmic prog-pop as synths take the vibes' scale and scatter it to the stars.

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