Home Acres (Polyvinyl, 03.2010)
For: AM/FM, The Velvet Teen, Silver Apples
Byline:The geographically displaced prog-poppers delve deep into tempestuous topics and emerge with the heaviest and ultimately best album of their career. Originally published on www.inyourspeakers.com. Used by permission from In Your Speakers, LLC.
....After releasing 2006’s universally acclaimed prog-pop tour-de-force Some Echoes and their equally lauded, stripped-down acoustic EP Light Works, Aloha’s opening announcement of a bass drum pedal being hammered to the floor, and a driving bassline on “Building A Fire” sound downright explosive. This concentrated repackaging of Cale Park’s most propulsive moments lock the song into a focused canter of laser beam intensity. Guitars come in quick, staccato bursts; barely melodic but hardly atonal, breaking the minimalist percussion show just enough to make themselves felt, and then exiting as quickly as they entered. After an announcement this compelling, “Moonless March” begins to unpack the kinetic interplay between Lipple’s lisping vocals (buried under layers of distortion) and vibraphone arrangements, and Park’s virtuoso percussion. “Moonless March” has been a longstanding crowd favorite; Aloha has been kicking the song around since at least early 2007 and its belated appearance on a full-length album benefits from years of tinkering, making it the album’s immediate standout single. Barely changing tempo from “Building a Fire,” “Moonless March” is Parks at his most jaw-droppingly frantic while still sounding amazingly cohesive....
...Crawling out of the self-imposed Siberian exile is the sentiment on “Waterwheel,” a semi-mystic rumination on existence reminiscent of Akira Kurosawa’s short film Village of Watermills. Watermills, in that film, represent the concept of cyclic rebirth and the transitory nature of life. Lipple posits “two hands on the waterwheel/the cold creek runs through everyone from here.” I can dig that. While we may not have total control over the course of our lives, there are quite a few things that we can control, and while we may not immediately see the direct results of our actions, they do exist somewhere down the line. Moments like these make me glad I am listening to this album for the express purpose of revealing some of its mysteries to others. Even if the world ends (please let it end after March 9th so you can hear this) at least I got a glimpse of something really wonderful.
I wonder if Spring gets off on being withholding. It comes at a time when you are past looking forward to it; it comes when you are comfortably settled within the cool hues of gray winter skies. Home Acres, while decidedly overcast, still retains a lining of the group’s entry-level stabs at making sense of the universe. 2010 finds Aloha a little older and a little wiser, like your smart older brother saying, “look, I don’t have all the answers. I’m just as confused as you are.”