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Aaron West and The Roaring Twenties - In Lieu Of Flowers

Album artwork for In Lieu Of Flowers, the third studio record from Aaron West and The Roaring Twenties.

In Lieu Of Flowers, the forthcoming third studio album from Aaron West and The Roaring Twenties is a poignant and deeply profound journey through loss, grief, and redemption. To be released on April 12, 2024, via Hopeless Records. Those unaware of the Aaron West and The Roaring Twenties project need to know that every record is a fictional piece of narrative from The Wonder Years frontman Dan Campbell, that expands with every gig and every person in those rooms every night, and to get a better understanding of the story being told in, In Lieu Of Flowers, is to know where Aaron's path has taken him so far. Aaron's story began in 2014 on the debut record, We Don't Have Each Other, which shined a huge light on the character's worst year of his life, marked by loss, grief, divorce, and miscarriage. These themes also spilled into the words of the band's 2016 EP, Bittersweet. On the band's second album, Routine Maintenance (2019), Aaron begins a new chapter, while short-lived, a bar fight lands him in jail. With no one to call, Aaron heads out to Los Angeles for a fresh start where he occupies his time between jobs and open mic nights. He later hits the road playing solo gigs, where he forms a band, and they begin to blow up before his personal life takes another massive hit with the loss of his brother-in-law. Now, the band's latest work continues the narrative saga of Aaron West's life, picking up immediately where the band's last album, Routine Maintenance, left off. It starts from the solo tours that Dan went on, after leaving the band to care for his grieving sister Catherine and nephew Colin. The band soon gets back together, which was also documented on their 2020 live release, Live From Asbury Park, which was recorded over two shows in December of 2019. Later in the record, Aaron details wounds he ignored for nearly a decade.

The album opens with "Smoking Rooms," setting the tone for the introspective and reflective nature of the record. Tracks like "Roman Candles" and "Paying Bills At The End Of The World" delve into themes of resilience and perseverance in the face of adversity, while "Monongahela Park" and "Alone At St. Luke's," to name a few, explore the complexities of grief and the search for meaning in loss.

Musically, In Lieu Of Flowers retains the signature sound of Aaron West and The Roaring Twenties, with a mix of folk, rock, and Americana elements that have bled through on all their previous records. Some of these elements on the latest record have some more emphasis put into them than the past records. How the band delivers a full-blown Americana track like "Whiplash." This is made possible with the addition of a fifteen-piece backing band that brings a lush, full-bodied sound to the album, adding depth and richness to the unwavering storytelling.

Some standout tracks include the hauntingly beautiful "I'm An Albatross," the introspective "Runnin' Out Of Excuses," and the album's title track, "In Lieu Of Flowers," which serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of cherishing life's moments while we can.

Overall, In Lieu Of Flowers is a powerful and emotional album that continues to showcase Dan Campbell's songwriting prowess and unmatched storytelling ability. On top of leaning his poetic songwriting to the project, he adds his emotional voice as the voice of Aaron's tempestuous life. It's an achievement Campbell can write such fictional works into music that feel so realized and lived-in. The eleven tracks are a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and a reminder that even in the darkest of times, there is hope and beauty to be found.


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