By Gina Tron
By Jon Solomon
By Drew Ailes
By Courtney Harrell
By Kyra Scrimgeour
By Jena Ardell
By Mary Willson
By Bree Davies
"Catch Me, Copernicus" is one of the standout tracks on Aloft's sophomore CD, 2007's pen.triloquist. Besides shining a spotlight on Hernandez's increasingly lush compositions and eloquent lyrics — a sound that evokes everyone from Cursive to Queen — the disc was a step toward 2008's even more mature and dynamic Modestine. But Fore is an even more dramatic leap forward for the band, a set of songs that sounds chiseled and spontaneous at the same time, boasting soaring backing vocals from the schooled-in-opera Rodriguez as well as the supple yet sinewy riffs of O'Kane, the group's newest member. And as Hernandez's piano continues to be the pivotal instrument in the mix, Aloft's singular mix of post-hardcore, art rock and pop blossoms into its own sure sound. Even if that sound still has a tendency to confound the locals.
"We played with 20XIII at the Aggie two or three months ago," says Rodriguez, "and there were two kids wearing Slayer and Slipknot shirts in the audience. They'd step up to the front and rock out during our rockers, then they'd back up six feet when we played our slower songs. It was funny."
"Some people think we're a little too pussy," adds Hernandez. "They're afraid to rep it to their friends. We're a scene kid's guilty pleasure. They'll laugh at us in front of other people, but we still get a lot of digital downloads. Somebody's listening in their closet somewhere."
"Beside actually playing it, one thing I'm sure we all enjoy most about our music is that it's original," says Nelson. "Really, we have our own sound. And to me, that's the most important thing. Nothing's ever been easy with this band. In four years, we've never taken the easy way out; we've stuck to our guns. We don't care who we're playing for, where we're playing or who we're playing with. Our music does turn some people off, but if we're having a good time, they're having a good time."
And if you've got a problem with that, there's a pit bull named Fritz who might want a word with you.