The Aces – I’ve Loved You For So Long

A compelling series of queer narratives...

The Aces are back, and the Utah foursome sound better than ever. Exploring topics such as love, longing and heartbreak, the queer indie band’s new project is a depiction of where they are as a band, how far they have come in a short space of time. A confident, self-assured album, it provides a career snapshot. 

It’s catchy too, which is no bad thing. Its melodic nature is undeniable, and something that is made clear right at the beginning, when opener, the title track, draws the listener in. A seductive, energising moment, it defines the vibe, the care and affection they foster as a band, the deep friendship that they share.

Growing up in religious settings, with Mormonism, extra strength, stamina and bravery were needed to break free, in order to reinvent and form new identities, the musicians did just that, and ‘I’ve Loved You For So Long’ shows some of the emotional effects, the remnants of those processes. It creates a strong bond, with a foundation. 

The catchy fabric of pop keeps the wheels in motion on this record, but it has moments of genre deviation. ‘Suburban Blues’ falls into that category. With light punk touch and bounce, it deals with the emotional challenges of not feeling able to come out, the sense of being trapped, trapped within yourself, examining the broader implications of such emotions, in your hometown or city. “Nobody knows that I’m dying inside/Nobody knows that I’m hating my life/Cause there’s no way out/Of this sad town.”

Issues such as the management of mental health is never far from singer Cristal Ramirez’s conscience and creative mind, and the song ‘Always Get This Way’ exemplifies the challenge. “And I’ve been starting to think its society thats wrong with me / And drives me insane.” 

Elsewhere, dynamic hyper-pop instant ‘Solo’ is a softly spoken few minutes with a direct, clear message, before jangly guitar lines open dream pop track ‘Not The Same’. With consistency aplenty, an addictive flow of sonics are brought together. While the sound influences reach quite far, stylistic leanings point to ’80s pop and ‘90s alt-rock, as current artists like Muna and The 1975 reverberate in the distance. 

Constantly on the move, The Aces are unafraid to stop along the way to check the emotional temperature, assess where they are and what’s happening, and so far it seems to have been a complex, yet hugely compelling journey.


Words: Susan Hansen

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