Review: Aaron West and The Roaring Twenties – In Lieu Of Flowers

'In Lieu Of Flowers' is considerably the realisation of Aaron West and The Roaring Twenties' potential.

Aaron West and The Roaring Twenties - 'In Lieu Of Flowers'‘In Lieu Of Flowers’ is the third chapter in the trials and tribulations of Aaron West. Portrayed through The Wonder Years‘ Dan Campbell, Aaron West and The Roaring Twenties has allowed Campbell to carve out a unique narrative, delivered in meticulous detail. Embedded American folk rock, the story so far has seen the titular character go through a miscarriage and a divorce, the death of his father, and being homeless, before hitchhiking to Los Angeles where he forms The Roaring Twenties. Meanwhile, he begins to find purpose, becoming a father figure to his nephew.

‘In Lieu Of Flowers’ begins with West performing in an L.A. club. ‘Smoking Room’ seemingly receives no response from the uninterested crowd. Nevertheless, The Roaring Twenties‘ celebratory brass instrumentation counters the downbeat nature of West’s words.

Joined by a 15-person ensemble, Campbell paints a compelling picture as West continues to be an underdog, trying his best to get through everything thrown at him. Whether that be his entire band being hit by Covid-19 while touring the UK, fighting his alcoholism, and loneliness, trying to survive without health insurance, or balancing life as a musician with blue-collar contractor jobs, Campbell’s storytelling is intricate.

‘Spitting In The Wind’ captures his self-destructive nature amid an alcoholic relapse, his band are pissed off with him, yet West is merely “burning it down”. However, ‘I’m an Albatross’ captures West at his most vulnerable. Aided by a country sway, he admits he’s got to quit as everyone has either died or left him. ‘Runnin’ Out of Excuses’ is delivered with a regretful piano, before his bandmates join him as he rebuilds himself in rehab. By the time Chiemina Ukazim’s E Street Band-esque saxophone comes into play, it’s clear West has turned a corner.

Musically, Aaron West and The Roaring Twenties‘ scope is considerably broader than before. The brass bursts and swells on tracks such as ‘Alone at St. Luke’, and ‘Roman Candles’ provide colour. It’s contrasted by the Americana steel pedal twang of ‘Paying Bills at the End of the World’ and ‘Dead Leaves,’ and the twinkling acoustics of ‘…Albatross’. Although West’s storytelling is captivating on its own, the stylistic ebb and flow of ‘In Lieu Of Flowers’ simply enhances the compelling narrative, serving as its fitting soundtrack. Furthermore, Campbell’s vocals are delivered with warmth and emotion throughout.

Ultimately, Campbell’s world-building ability draws you in, succeeding in taking you to another place. In the process, he provides a candid narrative of a man who continues to experience highs and lows. ‘In Lieu Of Flowers’ is considerably the realisation of Aaron West and The Roaring Twenties’ potential.


‘In Lieu Of Flower’ by Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties is released on April 12th on Hopeless Records/Loneliest Place On Earth.

Find Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties on: Facebook | X (Formerly Twitter) | Instagram | Spotify | Apple Music | Website


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