Tuesday, 6 July 2010

The Acorn - No Ghost (Bella Union)

Rolf Klausner, lead vocalist of The Acorn, has a voice which can seamlessly switch from a graceful mid-range croon for the band’s quieter moments to a nasal yelp at the more frenetic moments. It’s around this voice that they built their earlier efforts, primarily their 2007 breakthrough Glory Hope Mountain. On first airing it appears that they have done the same on their newest album No Ghost; switching the pace from track to track and producing a collection of pleasant but unspectacular folk-tinged indie ditties. If I had not been reviewing this album I may have put it aside after having made this summation and moved on to the next, but having been charged with the task of putting into words the sound of this album I gave it more listens than I first believed it deserved; and boy am I glad that I did.

No Ghost is almost a masterpiece, in the most subtle way possible. On some tracks such as “Bobcat Goldwraith” it is the amount of different instruments weaving their way in and out of the mix (not to mention the wildlife sample underneath it all) that enrich the sound and enthral the listener, whereas on a quiet number such as “Misplaced,” which features little more than a simply strummed acoustic guitar and the simplest of drum beats, it’s the most delicate additions of xylophone and the hum of the guitar between strums that creates the most peaceful state of mind when listening.

The amount of different sounds found on No Ghost is astounding; crunching riffs grace “I Made The Law,” magnificent guitar harmonics form the basis for the incredibly well-crafted title track “No Ghost” honestly I could go on for a while longer. Often the most interesting layer of sound in on the periphery and it may not be until a few listens down the line that you consciously notice it, although it’s been there all along enriching your listening pleasure. The only way to fully grasp what I’m saying is to listen for yourself.

On top of all this is that voice that I started out this review by talking about, and as ever Klausner’s vocals are a perfect match for everything going on around, whether harmonising beautifully with fellow bandmates or going solo. It’s not just his tone that is notable but his lyrics are also worth paying attention to. As suggested by their band name The Acorn are mainly concerned with natural things, whether discussing something tangible like the colours of fallen leaves or something a little more abstract such as a floating day, the imagery provided here is a technicolour film, especially when combined with the music.
At the conclusion of the album “Kindling To Cremation” Klausner repeats the phrase “this is how you pass the time away,” which is exactly what this album does. While we’re in the middle of summer do yourself a favour and go out and lay down in this glorious sunshine and pass some time away with this album in your ears; you won’t regret it.

Words : Rob Hakimian

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