The Acorn – [Album]

Monday, 14 June 2010

Mexican architect Luis Barragán was once quoted as saying, “I think that the ideal space must contain elements of magic, serenity, sorcery and mystery.” It's an understandable assertion to make; a structure is just that without those things but, with them, it has a story and can mean something to people. For that reason, were he alive today, it's a good bet that Barragán would want to try and inhabit The Acorn's new album, No Ghost. According to the liner notes that accompany the record, No Ghost was made in a twenty-day span at a cottage on scenic Lac Charon in Quebec but, even without that knowledge in hand, it's very easy to see that the six men (five bandmembers, one producer) were in a very different space from usual; there is a sense of ease and facility about the record that is very, very attractive.

No Ghost opens gently and delicately with just an acoustic guitar and singer Rolf Klausener's own relentlessly intimate ruminations (“Here it is against my belly/the sum of all your solid parts/I soak you up and let you find my follies/the same events were caused long ago”) of a different, happier place that is obviously very dear and conveyed with that very much on the tip of the singer's tongue. Here, he is emotionally nude and it is only after that fact is made perfectly plain that the song begins to build with unusual electronic devices and drums to support the singer's heart. Needless to say, No Ghost plays like a very unique beast quite unlike any other in modern rock.

As the record unfolds, the sonics of it don't exactly get bigger or smaller exactly but, rather, they build in emotional intensity until they positively captivate and consume the imagination of listeners, and it happens quickly; even by the time the band reached the slippery gentility of “Misplaced,” Klausener has listeners hanging on his every word (there isn't a guy in the world who wouldn't love to borrow the “It leaves me tongue-tied and twisted/like snowfall in May” line for use on a girl when it really counts) and waiting for him to whisper the secrets of life, love and happiness into their ears as they listen intently, careful not to miss a syllable. That hypnotic effect never falters and ends up yielding some of the greatest gold as “Bobcat Goldwraith” hits the closest to an ecstatic rock note complete with punctuating horns, the title track raves the proceedings up to a fantastic froth (it may be the closest song to a folk-rock opera in music history) and “Almanac” hums out an excellent, extended denouement that the band rides until the record's close. It's a bizarre sort of dramatic arc because it does start reasonably late in the record's playing, but does act as a sort of anthemic note after nerves get so soothed earlier in the record.

It seems like saying that No Ghost is a remarkable celebration now – after all that – would be redundant, but even that sentiment doesn't exactly do the record justice. In this case, The Acorn has seemed to invert the normal play of a record (small first, big middle, small end), but it does bear something of a spellbinding quality in its' own right. Here, The Acorn turns a few conventions on their heads and balances them masterfully but doesn't continually point to that so listeners will notice. Rather, they simply do it with ease and then play the results of that inversion out with an unassuming charm that can't not win listeners over.



The Acorn – “No Ghost” – No Ghost


No Ghost
will be available on Amazon on June 22, 2010. Pre-order it here .

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