(Solarise Records 2003)Sutrobath - Aquatica

Like the Beatles leading you to Pepperland, Sutrobath introduce you to Aquatica, a land of indie rock tunes, with occasional acoustic ballads, that gives you a slight feeling of déjà vu from time to time but keeps your attention throughout your entire visit. Even repeat visits. Except Sutrobath aren't animated; and they use their own voices.

Opening the album with the title track, choruses of "Here in Aquatica" give the impression of a concept album, introducing you to a new location. The track also sets up the band's style of opening with mellow acoustics and then plugging in and turning it to rock. Sutrobath seem to have a knack for writing catchy hooks and choruses as shown on "Bitter" and the especially Beatles-esque "Never Been Better." But by the gritty "Solo Tonight," there's so much happening -- including intercom-sounding bits of the "Captain speaking" -- you wonder if they've momentarily lost the focus.

Seamlessly transitioning through the middle of their album, the quiet "White Star" segues into the high energy "Holiday" while a short thirty second clip sends you into the familiar sounding "You're In Love." "A Thousand Words," an acoustic ballad, hints strongly of Art Garfunkel at certain points, as does most of the album, before Sutrobath abandon the ballad form for the harder "Superday." The didgeridoo, plinking piano and percussion driven "Fabulous Nothing" shows a less poppy side of Sutrobath. The band return to their former sound, however, for "Wave Break" and, the listed closing track, "Reprise," ends with some quiet piano. Sutrobath aren't finished quiet yet, though. The band adds in the unlisted fourteenth track's sound of thunder before the unlisted fifteenth track provides one last song.

Although sometimes repetitive in structure, Sutrobath's "Aquatica" is a well-written record that easily encourages repeat listens. Their catchy choruses, a mix of old and new sounds, are sure to get stuck in your head while the album's combination of acoustic finger-picking and respectable electric guitar riffs offer something for a range of music fans.