Thursday, June 28, 2007
Acute Review - Live at the Troubadour
I got invited to see Acute last week at the Troubadour but couldn't make it. I haven't seen the local press cover these guys too much, so I thought it would be good to invite Donny to go in my place. Unfortunately there was some miscommunication between the publicist and the label and he wasn't on the list. Being the good guy that he is, he still turned in this review. Thanks Donny. On a side note, I hate when guest reviewers write more coherently than I.
Here's his review:
As Duke mentioned last week, Los Angeles-based band Acute has largely been overlooked by our local music blogs. The band, made up of singer/guitarist Isaac Lekach, drummer Patrick Edwards, keyboardist Jason Borger, and bassist Matt Herman, has been playing shows locally and nationally since the release of their debut album, Arms Around a Stranger (Help Records). Acute came together after Lekach's previous musical project, Poulain, dissolved. Lekach recruited drummer Edwards and bassist Colt Maloney (who recorded the album but subsequently left the group) to start a new project. The trio began writing music together, and the new band was born. While Herman came onboard recently to replace Maloney, Borger helped the band arrange string parts and record keyboards for the album, joining the group full time after that. The band describes their sound as "orch-pop." Try to think of the lyrical poignancy of the Magnetic Fields crossed with the orchestral ambition of the Beach Boys and the whimsical charm of film legend Frederico Fellini (in fact, the album cover for Arms Around a Stranger is based off the original movie poster for Fellini's 1973 film Amarcord).
Acute is currently on a national tour with ex-D Generation main man, Jesse Malin. Check out a play-by-play review of the band's hometown show at the Troubadour last Wednesday here. Due to some hiccups, I wasn't able to catch the full show, but Josh from LAist gives a good account of the details. For me, having seen Acute perform live many times before, it seems the addition of Borger and Herman has been vitalizing. Borger has been invaluable with his dual keyboard setup, allowing the group to recreate many of the memorable orchestral flourishes from the album live. And Herman's bass playing has made the band much more dynamic. Since they've come onboard, some of the songs from Arms Around a Stranger have been updated live. The new version of "We Can't Stop" was a highlight at the Troubadour show. We also saw the talents of Lekach and Edwards at that show. Live, and on record, Edwards's understated, yet dynamic, drumming gives the songs room to breathe. Many drummers have the inclination to overplay, but Edwards's sense of musicality never allows that to happen. Lekach is the voice of the band in every sense, serving also as Acute's principal songwriter. In this age of Brock-yelps and Buckley-gushes, Lekach's vocal style is a welcomed relief. Like Edwards's approach to drums, Lekach never oversings. Instead, he employs the sweet timbre of his baritone to carry his lyrics and melodies—what a brilliant idea. It is all these elements collectively that gives Acute its unique sound; one that is immediately recognizable and ultimately comforting. All the members of this band come together to serve the song. And with Acute, it's always about the song. Here's hoping for every two articles written about buzzed-out local bands like the Deadly Syndrome, the Broken West, No Age, or the Parson Redheads, there's at least one written about Acute. These guys certainly deserve it.
Download "The City" and "Follow You Home"