EP Review: Aquino - 'City Stars'

New Jersey native Aquino gears up to release his second album 'City Stars' on October 13 via Cocotazo Music.

Aquino is the project of Michael Aquino, a Cuban-Puerto Rican musician and performer who makes music across the acoustic/ indie rock / folk genres with a healthy dashing of latin flavouring.  Forthcoming EP 'City Stars' follows on from his accomplished 2015 debut album, 'Giants Will Fall', featuring 6 thoughtful and personal tracks, exploring Aquino's experiences growing up Latinx in an urban center of northern New Jersey, USA.

Of the EP Aquino explains, “I drew upon different characters—or ‘stars’—I’d met in my youth and their fascinating stories. Most of the songs reflect on their passions and missteps, and the trajectory on which it set them."

 From its atmospheric acoustic intro, to its subtle crashing of drums, opening track 'Milly' steadily increase into impassioned vocals and smooth Santana-esque guitar work. This is the longest song on the EP and a great example of Aquino's knowledge of dynamics and creating tension to match the tone of the lyrical journey.

The EP's title track is my favourite song on the EP. It's moving, it's real and it shimmers with an almost post rock, cinematic glory that makes for an especially affecting listen. EP closer, 'We All Dance Like Fire' is also a poignant, stand out track - a beautiful slow song about personal growth, dedicated to Aquino's wife.

Then there's, 'Moving Me' an uplifting, groove-laden song to dance out any tension to, the bi-lingual fiesta that is 'Talking Spirits'  and 'Amaze Me', a dreamy folk song with lush finger picking, exuberant layers and exquisite harmonies featuring the gorgeous voice of  Barbara Carames.

'City Stars' in full is a vivid and diverse journey through a deeply creative mind. Aquino knows exactly how to connect with the multitude of feelings that the human condition experiences - where you can almost reach out and touch each variable emotion that is intricately woven into his music.

Words of Karla Harris Aquino will host an album release party at the Bloomfield Public Library’s Little Theatre, New Jersey on October 14. The event will begin at 2:00pm. Larée Cisco will perform an opening set. Admission is $10/person. Proceeds will be donated to the ConPRmetidos Hurricane María and Irma Recovery Fund. ConPRmetidos is an organization, “...connecting people in order to foster commitment with the personal, social and economic development of Puerto Rican communities wherever they are.”

Visit michaelaquino.com for more information.