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Aug 04, 2014

The Acid



"A pleasingly slow burning."

I don't know about you, but I'm getting a little tired of summer. Sure, the quirky nights spent with friends are great, the free time synonymous with summer is always much appreciated, and ice cream is at its apex of being screamed for, but summer is charted out. There is a finite limit to summer, a one-word description. Fall, on the other hand, now that's unique. One never quite knows if it will be hot or cold out, full of late rain or early snow. It's liminal; a threshold between the energetic summer and the cozy winter.

This is the best way I can describe The Acid's debut record. It's unique. It's an autumn album. It sounds like something teetering on the edge of a cliff, giving a tip of the tongue feeling to listeners. The first thing I noticed when I picked up Liminal was its quiet nature, much like How To Dress Well’s June release of “What Is This Heart?” It takes chapters from Radiohead’s languid vocals and The XX’s meditative bass and then becomes something completely new. I envisioned the artists sitting in a circle of chairs around a single mic, whispering their music to draw listeners in. You have to crane your ears to properly absorb their sound, as if every vibration was a closely-guarded secret. It's a patient album; often drawn out, sometimes even unintelligible under a blanket of distorted lyrics. However, it’s got so much emotion. There are raw feelings hidden in the warbling noise.


The project’s three members, producers Adam Freeland, Steve Nalepa, and songwriter Ry X, are all individually established artists in their own right (for example: you may recognize Nalepa's name if you're a Glitch Mob fan) and The Acid has added another fresh outlet for them to channel their talent. In aYouTube interview, the three talked about how the collaboration wasn't intentional, but a by-product of a studio session. The Acid started building up momentum and wrote their entire four track EP in an impressive ten days back in January.

What’s even more impressive are the bands live shows. Front man Ry has commented in various articles (includingthis in-depth interview with the UK publication Dots and Dashes) that the band plays every sound live. There are no prerecording’s that so many producers and DJs rely on these days. Utilizing a vast spectrum of instruments, from standard guitar to beeping medical equipment, the threesome sets out to create something more akin to art than music.


In "Fame”, the burning desire for popularity leaves Ry’s lyrics glowering in out-cry paralleled by its surrealisticmusic video. It’s vaguely post-apocalyptic-robot-horror-movie-break-dancing-séance art direction is a spectacle in itself. Mesmerizing, to put it lightly. Changing gears, "Ra" takes on a softer, whispering mood while the trio quietly broods over guitar slides that permeate the track. “Tumbling light” picks up the slack left by Ra, starting off down tempo but building a slow burn that transitions into faint animal sounds and something similar to a beating heart under ultrasound. A really fascinating song and one of my favorites on the album. Speaking of favorites, “Basic Instinct” slides into first place in my heart, shedding a bit of the now familiar electronic dusk for a rock inspired melody reminiscent of Son Lux.


It’s gritty, lo-fi trip of an album, but Liminal has achieved exactly what the title suggests. It’s not a fun-in-the-sun romp, it’s an emotional and introspective journey that doesn’t look at the present season, but the encroaching fall, the oncoming winter. It’s a breath of fresh air amidst stale summer bangers that will be perfect to brood over for the next few months.

Zach Simon