Singer-songwriter Sergio Napoletano returns with his first release since 2016, entitled Memory Aisle, a five-track collection of genre-fluid songs.
Talking about the EP, Napoletano says, “‘Memory Aisle’ comes from the idea that we can revisit the memories from our past as if we’re strolling through the aisles of a supermarket (or maybe an IKEA for some).”
Along with Napoletano (guitars, vocals, piano, keyboards), the EP features AJ Pantaleo (drums), Thomas Pistilli (bass), and Joe Pecora (guitar).
Written during the last two years, the songs on Memory Aisle were drafted on an iPad and then layered with guitar, vocals, and keyboards. Pantaleo’s drums were tracked in his basement, Kings Studio, by recording engineer Joe Pecora, who then took everything back to Red Room Studio to track the rest of the EP.
After playing guitar with some of Staten Island’s prominent bands, such as Paul & the Tall Trees and Eamon, along with performing at acoustic showcases, Napoletano discovered his gift for atmospheric songwriting and his bandmates. Together, they don’t simply play songs, rather they create a milieu that reflects the character of the music.
Memory Aisle begins with “Lockjaw,” opening on gritty, edgy guitars riding Pantaleo’s finessed, rumbling drums as Napoletano’s haunting voice imbues the lyrics with dreamy, moody tones. In the midst of the grimy alt-rock leitmotifs, Pecora’s dazzling guitar infuses the tune with visceral, luminous licks.
“Kid in the Hall” travels on an acoustic guitar intro flowing into a bass-filled rhythm topped by Napoletano’s evocative, wistful vocals. For some reason, the song conjures up suggestions of Pearl Jam, with its ‘90s feel and undulating harmonic movement.
The title track rolls out on dark, echoing drums as a shimmering guitar imbues the tune with psychedelic-lite textures. A sparkling piano adds a melodic episode, followed by murky, jangly guitars injecting the tune with gleaming, lusciously raggedy sonic hues.
“Downtown” features a laid-back flow, dripping with bewitching washes of sound as Napoletano’s soft, low voice imbues the lyrics with gentle timbres. A granular guitar gives the harmonics a raw, graphic flavor.
The last track, “Petty Folks,” voyages forth on a trundling, syncopated rhythm, while angular, glittering guitars infuse the tune with creamy, lustrous coloration as Napoletano’s gliding vocals give the lyrics drifting savors.
With the excellent Memory Aisle, Sergio Napoletano delivers scrummy rhythms, muddy yet jangly guitars, and compelling vocals.