Aly & AJ’s Very Good ‘Sanctuary’ EP Is Essential Listening

Mike Nied | May 10, 2019 3:22 pm

Aly & AJ take things to the next level with their Sanctuary EP. The Michalka sisters have truly come into themselves as creators since returning with the synth-drenched “Take Me” in 2017. The anthem and all that followed helped carve out a niche in the industry. No one does pop quite the same way. And they continued growing this year with the release of “Church.” The single launched a new era. Not only that, but the self-reflective, confessional bop broke new ground thematically. And it informs the rest of the material on Sanctuary. Out today (May 10), the 5-song collection should be essential listening for any pop fan.

On it, the pair move away from the heartbreak and drama of breakups (perfectly captured on their mega-classic “Potential Breakup Song”) to address more mature material. That’s evident on the EP’s second single “Don’t Go Changing.” Over a driving beat, Aly and AJ urge a loved one to stay true to themselves. “Don’t go changing on me, babe,” they urge. “Who ever told you you’re not good enough?” The end result works as a love song, but it could just as easily deal with issues of self-worth. And every other song on the EP is an equally infectious synth-pop delight. “Star Maps” boasts an explosive and sing-along chorus. Meanwhile, “Not Ready To Wake Up” is a lushly produced ode to a dream-like relationship.

“Stay in paradise with me,” they urge as the beat picks up under their beguiling voices. Closing out the collection, the title track is a retro stunner with a sweet message. “I’m saying thank you, thank you, for your sanctuary,” Aly and AJ belt out. This is another one that could serve dual purposes as both a traditional love song and a message to fans they met on the road. After all, the sisters described their live shows as a sanctuary of sorts for fans in a press release. A solid listen from start to finish, the collection is yet another win for the sisters. Give it a listen below and pick a favorite song.

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