Bridge to the Northern Lights

Aveo plays in Chico at Moxie’s Café on Friday, March 22.

With the album-opening “Laughter Leaves You,” Aveo launches into well-crafted if overly familiar indie-rock territory, with big guitar strums and syncopated drum and bass crescendos providing a fitting complement to singer/guitarist William Wilson’s emotive (if mostly buried-in-the-mix) singing. Occasionally, a phrase surfaces, but for the most part the lyrics remain obscure—something to be deciphered over many headphone listenings, perhaps.

The tone of propulsive melancholy sustains the album to the extent that discussing individual songs seems beside the point; what’s important here is establishing and exploring variations of a mood, which Aveo does quite well. But standout moments of instrumental prowess occasionally lift the album above monochromatic emotionality. The aptly titled “Higherness,” powered by the aerodynamic drumming of Jeff MacIsaac and the driving bass of Mike Hudson, manages to achieve a velocity that gives one hope for Aveo’s being capable of really catching fire in a live setting.

And the album closer, "Collapsing Plateaus," showcases an intricate arrangement and use of dynamics that demonstrate a young band growing in maturity and sophistication in its craftsmanship.