Reviewed by Jack Derricourt
ACAB Rocky is Victorian — not in the sense that they recreate the medieval world in fits of opium-fuelled glee, but in the sense that their geography constitutes a large island on the West Coast. I don’t think they go in for knights and chivalry — though the next time they’re in town, I’ll invite them out to Medieval Times, just to be sure. These gifted young musicians go in for smooth rock tunes, with a rootsy turn, gifted through the churning ocean of internet releases. The new EP, six tracks of devotion and careful sculpting, are about to join the wave of 2015.
From the first crashing chords of “Matches,” you can tell the EP is sophisticated. There is a quality of recording present that will intrigue many ears. Distance is built into the recordings — space and placement belying intense planning. Many moments focus on the simple, soft-spoken vocals and acoustic guitar of Sam Wells; just as many instances plunge the listener into full out jamming.
The ACAB band certainly approaches things from unforseen directions on the new EP. “Jane” is both old timey and krautrock, something very different from anything I’ve heard before. A white wash of fuzz clears out any misogynist conceptions, leaving the song a blank slate of MUSIC, pushing beyond the sentiments that would work to drag it down. The usual song about a girl format is not something these guys are interested in, unless it’s just to show off how much better they can do it than anybody else. The song in the two spot, “Nursery,” echoes with Wilcoesque lead guitar work and haunting, regretful lyrics, stretching back into the past. The shoegaze vibe is strong with these ones.
The EP is a tightly wound piece of copper wire, ready to conduct all the electric attention of its audience. “Backwoods” is a favourite, as it’s filled with the kind of chugging, dirty chords that speak to the MC5 fan in us all. The jams kicked out by this band are subdued, sure, but just as intense as any sludge-thrash-Robfordcore band you can name. The sighs and distant snare hits in “Backwoods” speak volumes of story, plotting out the night air, the couch fibres, and the touch that exists between the characters in the story. 3:45 just isn’t enough: the ACAB guys left me wanting more.
This is not the first release by ACAB Rocky. The band has been busy putting out singles and cassettes like any self-respecting workaholics in the business of indie music in this age. But there is a step forward being made here to a significant degree. The three band members have made a commitment to their music: to treat it like a serious work of art, and to present it to people with appropriate gravitas. Hacktivism Records is putting out the EP February 2nd. Watch it drop and pick it up.
Top Tracks: “Jane” ; “Backwoods”
Rating: Hunting Call (Excellent)