AQUARIA is the first full length album of BOOTS, the Florida-born singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist. Having also worked with Run the Jewels and FKA Twigs, Boots’ involvement in Beyonce’s eponymous album shines through in this effort. Its a similar mix of tense undertones and expansive overtones that defines the AQUARIA‘s 11 tracks.
The first track, ‘Brooklyn Gamma’, introduces bass tones like the grinding of a factory line, from which the ethereal higher notes sound like they’re trying to escape. With ‘C.U.R.E.’ Boots uses his hip-hop experience to deliver a grimy aspect, but the lyrical delivery lacks enough bite to drive it home. Make no mistake, its still a banger. ‘Oraciles’ is differingly indie rock, besides the dark tones. Industrial Rock comes through in ‘Bombs Away’, chillingly mechanical instrumentation conjures the military complex referenced in the lyrics, yet which are delivered without a sense of aggression.
The politically charged track ‘AQUARIA’ features fellow artist Deradoorian, but more could be done to harmonise their voices and styles. ‘Dead Come Running’ and ‘Earthquake’, while still good, only amble along without coming to a head, while lacking inspiring lyricism. Some of the best work comes towards the album’s end. ‘Only’ is a wistful and slower effort, progressing along an emotive crescendo that delivers well the romantic but also isolated imagery in the lyrics.
‘Still’ is perhaps the most interesting piece here, partially because it is somewhat reminiscent of an Arctic Monkey’s ballad. In ‘Still’, Boots’ melancholy lyricism and delivery really shines – its a breath of fresh air but doesn’t clash with the rest of the album that it so beautifully rounds off.