In case you missed it, Disney-bred pop duo Aly & AJ is making music again after a decade-long hiatus. Now operating under their own record label, the sisters are putting out incredible West Coast-inspired synthpop. We got the first taste with mid-August release “Take Me” and another dose this past week with shiny single “I Know.”
Both songs present some of the most intricate pop production heard in recent years. “Take Me” lacks predictability even after multiple listens, leading into each refrain differently and scattering the multiple layers of backtracks to create a song that sounds coherent against all odds. “I Know” is similar in that it plays with syncopation, but relies heavily on vocal distortion to create ear-catching production. One of the finest examples occurs post-bridge with a crescendoing autotune-enhanced delivery of the title lyrics, “I know / you know who’s going to pick you up / who’s going to take you home” that culminates in an ornate drum sequence and leads into the final refrain.
From many angles, “I Know” is a pick-me-up song. The lyrics resemble the average pep talk given to a friend going through a rough patch, reassuring them with, “it’s going to be fine” and pleading, “tell me what will get you out.” Besides the raw lyric content, the delivery and its surrounding atmosphere add to the comforting spirit of the track. The vocals transition from desperate and sympathetic to motivating; the glittery and airy synth production ultimately induces a soothing quality.
With the release of “I Know,” Aly & AJ also announced that their new EP, aptly-named Ten Years, will be out Nov. 17. The released singles place a huge amount of potential into the forthcoming work, proving that these sisters are back and better than ever.