Acre: Better Strangers

acre

Previously touted as something of a hybridist, “into hyper-modern sound design and bastard club rhythms”, this full-length nevertheless has all the sonic likeness of someone hopelessly chiselling away in a barren landscape in the Klondike Gold Rush. Desperately hoping to find that seam that reveals riches but ultimately slowly dying of cold and starvation.

I’ve invested legitimately in all previous Acre releases and don’t doubt his integrity, but one desperately longs for some release from his purgatorial, digital, flint-stoning – just one track that finally runs away with itself, carried away with a little joy that just plain cuts loose, however lumpen! Nothing here ever really feels like more than an experiment or a grimly defiant primitive sketch. Flashes of brilliance catch in the light only to disappear in the sweat of his labour like gold fever.

“Dek U” could just as well be re-named that; it’s a disturbing, hypnotic focus on a barren seam. “Automatic Fire” likewise – running low on provisions he ekes out the calories on a thin gruel of digital dross and pounds the face with blistered fingers and worn out tools. The brown note a constipated, dehydrated, thin curled stool of desperate bass.

And so the album spasms on it’s feverish deathbed as all is lost. Memories filter in without invitation. Chip tunes? skwee? disembodied garage diva voices? (“Holding Hands” is truly awful….God! just end it now) it all gets thoroughly unpleasant (just as we all know it will be! maybe a major artistic achievement then?), until “Better Strangers” sounds the funereal lament and rolls the credits. Dig the grave deep so the wolves don’t get my bones.

One for the grizzled backcountry men then? or armchair adventure travellers? Just don’t expect any comfort or pleasure.

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