If you follow me on Twitter and Instagram, then there’s a good chance you’ve seen me gush over a band called The Aces and shout out into the ether that everyone should really be listening to them. But who are they? Why do I care about them so damn much? And are you missing out on something great here? I’m going to answer the first two in a bit, but to answer the third: YES YOU FUCKING ARE.
So join me as I break it down like a MTV VMAs performance from the early noughties and give you the TL;DR on your faves fave The Aces.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Who exactly are The Aces? I wish I could just insert a link to their Wikipedia page here, but after doing a fairly thorough Google search all that comes up is the wiki pages for a blues band and a Jamaican group also called The Aces.
THIS GROUP DOESN’T EVEN HAVE A WIKIPEDIA PAGE. SIGH.
Not to worry! All you need to know about The Aces is that they’re an all-girl indie/pop/rock group hailing from Provo, Utah. They all play their own instruments, which I’m not saying makes them any better or worse than other groups who don’t; I just think it’s worth mentioning. You have Cristel Ramirez who is lead vocalist and plays guitar, McKenna Petty on bass, Katie Henderson who is lead guitarist and provides back-up vocals and Alisa Ramirez on drums. That’s right, Cristel and Alisa are sisters!
So, we have an all-girl pop/rock group and half of the members come from the same family. Sound oddly familiar? There is definitely a HAIM vibe going on here but I say that proudly because HAIM are great and, to be honest, the world needs more girl groups. I’d also go as far as comparing The Aces sound to a poppier, perhaps more accessible, take on 1975 meets the wistfulness of Carly Rae Jepsen. But that’s just me.
What have The Aces released that you should add to your Spotify playlist and play on loop? I hear you ask. Well, it hasn’t been a lot if I’m honest. The introductory 4-track EP ‘I Don’t Like Being Honest’ and a couple of singles released at the top end of 2018 is all I can offer you. But it’s a quality over quantity situation here because of the little music they’ve put out, it’s all been very, very good.
‘Physical’ is a sunny pop delight about wanting more than just casual intimacy in a relationship; an anti-NSA anthem of sorts. It’s definitely their most fun BOP. In comparison, ‘Baby Who’ is a gorgeous mid-tempo ode to the end of a relationship and features some beautiful harmonies from lead singer Cristel.
The new single ‘Fake Nice’, taken from their upcoming debut album ‘When My Heart Felt Volcanic,’ follows in the same vein; catchy guitar riffs, lush harmonies and a chorus begging to be sung out loud.
Okay, so I’ve set the scene and provided the receipts and now’s the time I tell you why you need to get into The Aces. First, don’t you want more female bands to choose from? I mean, look at how limited options are when it comes to mainstream pop music. You either have Little Mix or Fifth Harmony and that’s it. When it comes to indie pop, HAIM and MUNA are literally the only all-female presence in a sea of testosterone made up by The Kooks, 1975, Wolf Alice, Bastille, Mumford & Sons and whoever else. But you get my point, right? The Aces feel like a real breath of fresh air and a chance to level the playing field a bit.
On top of that, the songs are genuinely really good. They’re so rich in personality, carried by Cristel’s soulful voice and you’d be hard pressed to not at least want to bop your head along to their tracks. If you think about it, their songs wouldn’t sound out of place in the background of an American teen movie circa 1998-2002. Basically, one of the greatest sub-genres of music ever to exist.
I saw The Aces (for under a tenner!) late last year in Hoxton and though the crowd wasn’t particularly big and they were essentially performing in the back room of a restaurant, the atmosphere was borderline electric and all four of them commanded the stage better than any other act there that night.
I know I seem to always root for the underdogs in music (see: JoJo and Tinashe) but that’s only because I like good pop music, and a lot of the exciting things happening to push the genre forward is down to acts like The Aces and MUNA. But they’re being pushed to the side and all the attention and acclaim is being given to men in fedora hats or with beards that just about connect.
THIS ENDS NOW.
Now that I’ve pretty much convinced you to stan The Aces – I should really work in PR tbh! – you can celebrate by seeing them live in London next month. They’re performing at the London Thousand Island on March 27. And again, tickets are under a tenner. We love an economically conscious group!
Once you’ve got your tickets, be sure to find me near the front by the stage quietly sobbing into my double vodka and cranberry as we all enjoy a bunch of performances by probably the most interesting and exciting band to come out in a long time.