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Acid FM

Justified American Music

Review by Gary Hill

There’s quite an intriguing blend of sounds here. Progressive rock with space rock overtones merges with old school metal, psychedelic and even punk rock. There is some awesome guitar work on this and at times the bass guitar really stands out. The main thing that would keep these guys from breaking mainstream is the vocals. They tend to be on the “off key” side, leaning them into the punk/alternative/DIY category. I wondered if it was a lack of skill, but then came the bonus track. When that song, a cover of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” came around, the vocals were on key. So, that means the sound on the other tunes is by design. All in all, this is quite a cool set that never really seems to get tired or redundant. It’s clearly not for everyone, but fans of the DIY sound with some cool prog and space rock mixed in will love this. It’s kind of like stoner rock, but still has a different edge, too. Look for great things from this act.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
In The Blink Of An Eye

There’s a quick bit of vocals at the opening of this cut. Then it pounds into a jam that has a real NWOBHM sound to it. This is quite metallic. There is quite a cool prog meets space rock instrumental section later in the piece. The guitar solo that follows is very tasty.

Atomic Revolution
Here we get another pounding tune. Again, NWOBHM is a fair comparison, but the vocals seem more in keeping with a DIY, almost punk element.
Desire

The bass opens this and then the guitar joins, bringing a real old school punk rock sound to the table. This is meaty, the kind of punk that has a lot of metal in the mix. Those vocals are easier to take on this tune, but still have that DIY approach. Some of the layers that are woven over the top lend a space rock edge to the piece. The guitar solo on this is pretty awesome.

Ride

Indie rock meets punk on this screamer. Somehow this is combined with a NWOBHM sound and the music reminds me a bit of Judas Priest in some ways. The vocals are more in that DIY meets punk mode.

Alive

This powers in very heavy and very metallic. There are some cool melodic lines that weave over the top of this heavy duty backdrop. There are some space rock layers over the top and the vocals here are easier to more mainstream than those on some of the other tunes. The instrumental section on this is particularly tasty and the guitar solo really stands out, too.

Reflux

The bass starts this cut and as the guitar tentatively joins there’s a space rock meets NWOBHM feeling to it. The whole group jump in from there and that kind of mode is added to by more of those DIY/punk vocals. There are some more space rock moments on this tune. In fact, the instrumental section later in the piece feels a bit like Hawkwind at times.

No Simple Plan

This starts off mellow and rather like alternative rock meets space rock. The vocals come across bringing that DIY sound in full bloom. There is definitely a garage band vibe here, but the vocals are such a prominent part of this particular music puzzle that this cut will have the most limited audience of anything here. Also, while this does represent a bit of a change in terms of sound and volume level, the cut is a bit too stripped back and simplistic to really stand as tall as the other music here. If there’s a tune to skip, this is it.

Don't Stop

Bass guitar begins this out and they launch out into one of the coolest jams of the whole disc. The sound of the guitar and the riffing just go to create something like a more metallic Led Zeppelin with some Aerosmith thrown in for good measure. The guitar solos like crazy early on and they take us through a few shifts and changes. When the vocals come in, they bring that garage band sound again, but this holds up better than some of the stuff in that regard. In fact, this is one of the highlights of the disc. The slower jam later in the piece is clearly more garage oriented, feeling a bit like spacey punk rock.

News At 11

This cut is really well crafted in an underground metal, NWOBHM style. It’s one of the most accessible pieces here and one of the real standouts. There are some great instrumental sections on this thing.

Bleached

Acoustic guitar opens this. As it grows out we get sort of a folk rock motif. This feels rather like progressive rock. It’s essentially a balladic cut that remains ballad-like. There is an air of psychedelia here and that DIY vibe is less prominent here. This is another highlight and presents some nice variety.

No Name

Coming in particularly heavy, this one is very much heavy metal with a real DIY edge.

War Pigs

Here we get a cover of the Black Sabbath song. They power this one out in a nice fashion and I love the bass sound on this beast. The music here is pretty much on the money. The vocals are quite cool. I like the modern sort of variant to the vocals. The thing is, the vocals here are pretty much spot on in terms of key, making it clear that the off key wanderings in other tunes is intentional. I really like this rendition quite a bit. The instrumental breaks are almost progressive rock at times.

 
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