Acrylics – Lives and Treasures

January 01, 1970

(Friendly Fire Recordings/Hot Sand Records)


Brooklyn continues to spawn
fine bands – and their fine recordings – the way other older American cities
sprout foreclosed buildings and vacant lots. Granted, Brooklyn is really a
city-sized borough of New York, which has always been a music center, but it
still seems like every brownstone there houses a band, a recording studio and
an indie label. Acrylics, the duo of Molly Shea and Jason Klauber, met up at
Ohio’s prestigious Oberlin College and then moved to Brooklyn – he’s from
Manhattan – but it didn’t take them long to fit in.


On their first full-length CD Lives and Treasures (following a 2009 EP), their sound has a
dreamy, introspective, experimental-tinged folk-rock feel – Grizzly Bear-ish –
made more lively, at times downright danceable, by an undercoating of pulsating
synth/keyboard sounds, insistent bass work and quietly layered, echoingly
vibrant and clear vocals. The two share understated, naturalistic leads,
resisting the indie tendency to throw their singing away with the kind of
passionless, affectless delivery that too often passes for cool. Shea in
particular has a voice capable of rising to the demands of the very strong,
melancholy-tinged melodies she and Klauber write – “Molly’s Vertigo” and
“Nightwatch” are striking in that regard, reminiscent of Stevie Nicks in her
Fleetwood Mac prime. But Klauber, too, has an appealingly calm voice. Their
lyrics are as polished with small observational details (“Tortoise Shell
Shades,” “Asian Pear”) as you’d expect of Oberlin students.


All this would be enough to mark Acrylics as comers, but
there’s an added dimension, a keen sensuousness, that comes out in a song like
the primarily acoustic “It’s Cool Here,” about sitting by the riverside
“talking to you.” You can feel the setting, the water, and the delight of Shea
and Klauber as they transport themselves there by singing. They know how to
make their songs vivid, to give them a palpable presence.


DOWNLOAD: “Molly’s Vertigo,” “It’s Cool Here” STEVEN


Leave a Reply