Rating: 9 out of 10.
This is probably the most anticipated Aquarium album in many years: the listeners, exhausted by turbulence, really needed the wise word of Boris Grebenshchikov. This time, BG announced the record more often than usual, and a couple of weeks before the digital release, he arranged something like an audition in the telegram channel. This release of “Aerostat” can be released as a separate disc: yes, not all the songs of the “House of All Saints” were included, but those that were included were accompanied by eyeliners from BG – also very wise, somewhere even soothing and completely, at first glance, not topical. Although if you think about it, Grebenshchikov’s thoughts about the state of society and culture were relevant even when there was no visible catastrophe.
The album “House of All Saints” opens with the song “Divination”, in which BG seems to cross a parable with a feuilleton, and darkness with light: “Somehow this rot and scum started up – there is no more tomorrow”; “As from this divination, coffins grew in the heart, our soul was, oh, how good – black smoke from the chimney. Conjure, woman, conjure, grandfather, Hundreds of years one answer. But while I breathe, I still ask that the clear light return to us. However, this is the only number on the record written after February 24, 2022. All other songs are written before; this does not make BG’s lyrics any less accurate, but it does make the album a timeless and very diverse work by Aquarium.
One can traditionally find fault with the fact that Grebenshchikov has long had a pool of favorite melodies and arrangements that wander from album to album with slight variations, but this pool is impressively expanded in the House of All Saints. This is both a new record and a detailed excursion into the rich musical history of Aquarium. One of the obvious landmarks is the “Russian Album”, but BG is inspired here even by the “prehistoric” “Aquarium” with its craving for absurdist poetry – pay attention to the wild compositions “Great Serpent” and “Surprise” in a good way. The waltz-like “Wine from the Sand” takes on additional meaning with the help of the Georgian polyphony from the Mgzavrebi group, BG inserts the topical line “specially trained people carry utter crap” into the relaxed reggae “Don’t go out the door”, but “Agatina’s song” is unexpected, but very appropriate kindness.
In general, the “Aquarium” album, as always, implies a long and attentive listening – and it will bring a lot of additional discoveries, textual gems and unexpected meanings to the assiduous and benevolent user. At the same time, inside the 15-track canvas there is a song-saga, a song-manifesto, a 12-minute “Mahamaya” about an endless “way from one hell to another.”
Alexey Mazhaev, InterMedia
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