Friday, 25 July 2014

The Acid // Liminal - Review

The Acid are a band that are subscribed to the rather popular belief, or rather rule, that 'less is more'. This is in both their music, and promotion of their music. Hearing very little from the band publically can work well, or well, not so well. Luckily, this band has all the right parts to succeed. Los Angeles singer-songwriter Ry X usually creates laid back songs with little electronic edge to them; but with Steve Nalepa and British grammy nominated Adam Freeland, they produce a very different sound. Whilst you may not have heard of these names before, you'll be hearing a lot from The Acid in the coming months.

Their anonymous appearance definitely mimics Alt-J, joining a group of invisible bands that neither care for this title or actively try to change it. The media present it; they ignore it.

'Basic Instinct' served as the appetizing starter for the band, with over a million plays on SoundCloud providing a good base for support to release this album. The haunting lyric of "coming up for air" is delicate and piercing at the same time, with distorted vocals and guitar later on releasing an edge not known to Ry X on his own.

Other tracks on the album lean heavily on the 'less is more' approach that bands like 'xx' have reigned in. The opener 'Animals' follows this principle to the letter, and is beautifully executed. Light and airy, with hints of an explosion of noise that never quite comes. A weak opener, maybe a better closer.

Elsewhere, you can find urban electronica on the definitely-not-a-Bowie-cover 'Fame', and the whisper quiet, guitar laden 'Veda'. If you're looking for music to keep you awake, you are in the wrong place. If you're looking for music to night drive to, high on acid or something less strong, this is the album.

Whilst the album has it's highs (literally), it can be a bit too minimal. Very similar to the second 'xx' LP, which was expected to heavily feature Jamie xx's work that had excelled in between albums. The fruits of their labour are evident, but perhaps not all they have to offer is quite there yet.

Who cares if they're invisible, if they make great music like this?


H x

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Alexei Crawley // Liars EP - Review

Alexei Crawley has been working on his debut solo EP outside of Abodes for around six months now. I had the unexpected privilege of receiving a preview link from Alexei a couple of weeks ago - having been a rather public fan of his work - and have been listening to the EP for a while now.

The first track starts of unexpectedly. Adding keys to the mix adds another layer to the music, making the mix deeper and helps definitely with the lack, for the most part, of drums. The chorus is catchy, and nothing like the recent collection of "Stay With Me" lyric inclusive tracks. The harmonies are a bold choice. Often broadening and thickening the vocals like adding chorus to guitar, and at times doing what chorus can do to a guitar and sounding like half a step down or out of tune, but it is simply another little touch among many on the EP. The riff that comes in later in the song glides between the left and right channels of your speakers, and whilst it could be argued to be too harsh of a tremelo, it doesnt matter. It adds once more to the song, variety that often is missing in first efforts.

The second track, previously previewed live and in demo form, starts of with a slow build up before the acoustic kicks in. Production values are high here, with echospheric (sorry, who uses that word?) sounds in the slow build up before the acoustic kicks in. More upbeat than the last one, despite the subject matter - which is another positive point for the album. The lyrics are woven and do not sound formulaic in structure or choice. Repetition is a theme on the album, in a good way, and is triumphant again once more. I can't quite pin the guitar that comes in later in the song - is it reverse reverb, or just high overdrive? Whatever it is, it sounds all rather lovely.

The two tracks that follow display yet more variety to fill your cheeks with, and catchy low volumed lines. Very much suicide inducing if you were annoyed at the recession crisis and your lack of a job, but stick with it and look past the pills. The keys this time sound like something the xx would like to steal, and the almost rambling lyrics are a marked change from the other two tracks.

As first EPs go, this is very well done. As far as I am aware, he is the sole producer too - which I can tell you is not easy. Yeah, there may be a crackle here or there in the first 10 seconds of 'Stay With Me', but where's your debut EP without it's faults?

Try to not get any of these songs stuck in your head, I dare you.


You can listen to the EP on Alexei's SoundCloud, here. By can, I mean 'will'. I insist.

H x