EP REVIEW: Aly & AJ – Sanctuary

80’s synths will forever be one of my favourite sounds. There is just something about that production styling that can make you want to dance and cry at the same time and that’s such a powerful thing. And that’s the direction that Aly & AJ have shifted towards since their exciting comeback in 2017. They are the ex-Disney sister duo who were propelled into your lives with the anthemic ‘Potential Break Up Song’ which is still a song I regularly blast on road trips. After a successful year of touring they’ve re-entered the studio to work on a second EP which is just as impactful as ‘Ten Years’. ‘Sanctuary’ hears them polishing up their synth sound and dives deeper into the nostalgic synth world of the 80’s. Lead single ‘Church’ is an aesthetically pleasing moody track that incorporates their DIY production with a smooth confessional storyline. Whilst follow up single ‘Don’t Go Changing’ floats in the reflective synths, they radiate positivity and have you wanting to dance euphorically. These two tracks were the perfect introduction to the direction that the rest of the EP heads in. ‘Star Maps’ is that nostalgic anthem that transport you back to the angsty 80’s pop that we all know and love but it is ‘Not Ready To Wake Up’ which stands out as the EP’s strongest moment. It’s a song that Carly Rae Jepsen will be absolutely jealous of and is a track you could’ve imagined be a number one hit single in the 80’s. But now it’s a very nostalgic sounding song that fans of that throwback genre will love. And don’t even get me started on the gushingly cute storyline which makes me want to fall in love ASAP. “Not ready to wake up when real life feels like dreaming. Not ready to wake up when your arms feel like freedom”. EP closer ‘Sanctuary’ is synth heavy and is the least pop directed track in a roundabout way. This is a song with a mature approach and is more experimental with its smoked synths. The drums are very retrospective to the whole sound they’ve re-created for themselves and has kind of become their signature sound. Yet again, they’ve proved that they are in fact the comeback queens and have returned to music bolder, stronger and more confident than they have ever been. 

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