Review- “Acedia”- Black Walls

reviewed by Michael Thomas

The definition of “Acedia” is an interesting one; it’s defined as “spiritual or mental sloth; apathy.” The definition is misleading. The eight songs that make up the latest effort from Ken Reaume are far from lazy or meaningless. In fact, Acedia the album can be seen as the complete opposite of the title’s definition.

As a one-man band, Reaume manages to produce a full sound by means of electronics, looping and a very innovative style of guitar playing. Indeed, it’s the guitar that forms the backbone of his (on average) seven-minute-long songs. And while long song lengths are most often associated with post-rock or experimentation, Reaume keeps things interesting with the often haunting sound of his guitar and the vocals that match it.

The opener (which is also the title track) should be enough to keep you listening throughout the album. It’s a very ethereal first song, featuring a melody change about halfway through. Towards the end of the song Reaume sings about a “noonday demon” and though he doesn’t describe it, it’s a phrase that stuck in my head.

“Sun to Rise” features some great use of electronics (to the point where they sound like horns, which is always awesome). It also features what I assume are two vocal lines, and anyone who basically harmonizes with himself is great. The longest song on the album “Pines” (clocking in at just over ten minutes) is a marvel to behold, employing multiple melody changes, looped vocals and even some extramusical sounds such as the crashing of waves on a shore.

When Reaume isn’t doing seven-minute songs, his shorter songs are interesting to ponder as well. “Brian Lotti” is just over a minute long and features Reaume’s signature guitar style over another guy (Brian Lotti?) telling a story about skateboarding in Salt Lake City, Utah. The album’s bonus track “Sapling” is a thrilling end to the album in that Reaume attacks the guitar in a completely different way. The playing style here is much more aggressive (as opposed to his normal smoothness) and the vocals are a little more edgy as well. It shows that Reaume has no problems stepping out of his comfort zone.

Acedia holds together quite well as a debut; Reaume has found himself a niche in Toronto’s vast musical landscape and fits in very well with the creative roster of artists on Pleasence Records.

You can stream or purchase the album from Bandcamp or order the limited-edition white vinyl from Pleasence Records.

Top Tracks: “Acedia”; “Sapling”

Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)

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