I was cruising my local record store, looking for something new to review on Tuesday Is For Tunes, when I saw the new album from The Acorn, No Ghost, in the listening station. I vaguely remembered checking The Acorn out when they announced the release, and liking what I heard. So, I slipped on the over-ear headphones, selected the disc, and pressed play. Rose tinted sunshine streamed in through the front windows, and the people passing by seemed to move to beat of the fascinatingly sounds that were being transmitted to my ears. I couldn’t help myself, I started tapping my feet, and soon I was dancing as far as cord would let me go. It was one of those quality LIFE IS GOOD moments. Much thanks to The Acorn.
So of course I bought No Ghost, and kept the album on pretty much constant play since. Beautifully, it hasn’t lost any luster yet. It’s just too interesting. Even with the minimalist leanings of some of the slower songs, The Acorn are doing a lot of interesting aural things on No Ghost. On track two, Restoration, the lilting tempo paired with gentle opening vocals are reminiscent of Freelance Whales release earlier this year. And though I also dearly love that fine band of musicians, as I expressed in Tuesday Is For Tunes: Freelance Whales, the vocals and lyrical subject matter had a youthful appeal. Conversely, as Restoration progresses the vocals gain force, maturing as the song builds. Goodness, oh how I love a song that slowly builds, exciting me until it breaks into an all encompassing jam out.
The Acorn also draw upon a diverse range of sounds for this album, sparking my interest, and setting they apart from more generic folk rock. Track seven, Bobcat Goldwraith, is best showcase of sounds on the album. It opens and closes with sample of evening sounds, frogs calling, giving the song an ambiance as strong as a poignant moment. This song sounds like a mad glorious sunset. Then there’s muffled clapping, shakers, the guttural tattoo of a deep tom, highlights of warmth from brassy horns, and a little weirdness from a wailing electric guitar.
There are also several quite points on No Ghost, songs that make the most of less. On track ten, Almanac, The Acorn take their time with mournful harmonies, scratchy acoustic guitar, sparse percussion, and low feedback. There are even a few seconds of near silence where the echo of the previous note is simply allowed to hang in space and dissipate like mist. Songs like Almanac offer a thoughtful moment of quite reflection on the album, and make No Ghost more than merely catchy, toe tapping tunes.
Either I am significantly behind the times, or The Acorn are just breaking out of Canada now, because apparently they’ve been making music together and releasing albums since 2004. Better late than never. If you like me had never heard of this band, I ardently urge you to check them out. This delightful stop-motion music video for Restoration is an excellent introduction.