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I'd missed half the set. There was a long line outside around the corner for the headliner, a group of pretty boys who make pretty boy pop-rock. (That's not a knock, just not what I came for.) When I finally made my way into the venue, members of The Aces were just starting to play "Just Like That." It wasn't the boisterous hit, but captured an essence of the group: a band formed in the members' tweens and the confidence and camaraderie that comes with their longevity.
From The Aces' forthcoming debut album, When My Heart Felt Volcanic, "Just Like That" doesn't have a walloping '80s throwback hook like the band's instantly hummable singles "Physical" or "Stuck," but glitters a slow-burning pop jam in muted pastels. The synths never break out of a steady pace, pulsing with Katie Henderson's tastefully decorative guitar accents and a rhythm section in lock step with vocalist Cristal Ramirez.
"You can come get all your t-shirts / 'Cause I don't like the way I look in them / And just like that / Just like that / There's nothing left of you," Ramirez sings with a desperate effervescence that finds solidarity not only in her friends but also reaches outward.
"This song is about getting empowered and deciding to cut the final ties to a person that never deserved you," the band tells NPR. "Hopefully you'll scream it in your room and heal along with us."
When My Heart Felt Volcanic comes out April 6 via Red Bull Records.