In the midst of a nostalgia craze, an era that has brought about rebirths for disney stars like the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus’ alter ego Hannah Montana, one would think that the return of the duo behind the ever iconic ‘Potential Break-up Song’ would also benefit. Unfortunately, the return of Aly & AJ, beginning in 2017 (almost a decade after their last release) has gone largely under the radar. Thankfully, that isn’t stopping them from making near perfect music.
On 2017’s aptly titled Ten Years, the sisters dipped their toes quite successfully into the 80s synth pop sound (another nostalgic craze ushered in by high profile releases like Lorde’s Melodrama, Carly Rae Jepsen’s E•MO•TION and Taylor Swift’s 1989). On Sanctuary, the duo show that they are true masters of it. From the dark vulnerability of ‘Church’ to the pounding synth of ‘Not Ready To Wake Up’, the duo invite you into their safe place, exposing their demons and emotions with absolute disregard. It’s truly something to behold, a perfect display of how to capture the sound, tone and feeling that the era they emulate was all about. Every synth, ever beat of a drum, every vocal, and every clap background bridge is placed flawlessly for maximum effect.
Sanctuary is a marvellously crafted EP, and a gorgeously dreamy five track trip into the world of Aly & AJ, that only leaves you wanting more. While the age of nostalgia and comebacks may well truly be just a way of making a quick buck for some, the craftsmanship displayed by this duo is a true testament to their desire to simply make great music – a desire they are more than succeeding in achieving.