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Aina Haina

Aina Haina

Review by Larry Toering

This is a power pop / rock duo from Portland, but originally from Hawaii. They have recorded before, but this is basically their self-titled debut EP which is set for release February 12th, and it’s a hot mix of six great tracks. And for some reason it’s actually being marketed with a sticker that says “Better Than The New Van Halen.”  While I don’t know anything about that, as Van Halen doesn’t even come to mind when I hear what I can say is a killer album of well written and delivered rock songs. Not only that, Mike Ailes and Dylan Magierek actually have a lot more to offer than most power pop units going around the Pacific North West.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 1 at

Track by Track Review
I Wouldn’t Let Me In If I Were You
A funky riff to begin with is instantly satisfying, but not all there is to this opener. This is where they set out to establish a message through a humorous warning repeated in the infectious chorus. This is great stuff but it doesn’t even indicate what’s to come, as just about any track on the disc would seem to do, really. Overall it’s as good of a choice for an opener as any.
I Can’t Feel You Anymore
This is a classic ballad which tries to fight for a top spot with the rest of them, but finds itself hanging closer toward the center, where it likely belongs. There is nothing to get wrong here. This is power pop with a perfect groove of mass proportions.
We Pulled It Down
If that was perfect, then this is the next best thing, as a really bluesy feeling gets underway. It carries a nice hook along with a swaggering chorus that helps an otherwise sassy vocal.
This starts of with a voice saying “side two,” and it’s easily one of the more mainstream cuts on the disc. All in all, like the rest, it’s just really good stuff with which you can’t find anything wrong. That being said, I can see why this might somehow be considered a feature track.
Help Me Through
This contains the chunkiest and grooviest guitar riff on offer, but that doesn’t make it the best. That’s because everything is so evenly balanced that there probably isn’t one lone stand out track. They all stand out. Everything about this is great, so whether it’s the best or not, it’s one of my favorites. That’s true especially in the vocal department and particularly on the killer melodic chorus.
Foolin’ Around (In The Sun)
In keeping with a chunkier edge, this goes back into a lighter direction, but still with huge hooks and another winning chorus. It naturally rounds out this unique recording by a band to look for in 2013 and beyond.


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