Acetone

If You Only Knew

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

Half of this record was recorded in Nashville, but it contains none of the twang of 1995's I Guess I Would EP. The band instead honed their sound down to a fine point, giving their first fully realized album. "If You Only Knew" leads off and it perfectly sums up the sound of the band with its gliding, harmonious blend of vocals, bass, and guitar. Snaking basslines rise up and the band finally capture the sound of the Velvet Underground's third record. "In the Light" introduces the pattern of Acetone, which involves taking a gentle riff, repeating it slowly, adding whispered vocals, and then slowly dropping a low-key drum track in. This is material that is often attempted, and often completed with less than interesting results. Acetone's gift lies in their ability to keep their low-key blues rooted in melody and something close to funky. This is most evident in "I've Enjoyed as Much of This as I Can," when both Mark Lightcap and Richie Lee exchange medicated vocals while a slippery guitar theme repeats and repeats, drawing the listener into some half-lit room of guitars and smoke. The song "99" takes the upbeat route, and it's this tendency to do so that is what separates them from any of their space rock peers (perhaps separating them from wider acclaim as well). The band are unafraid to rock in the classic sense. A track like "When You're Gone," with its slow burn and gradual buildup, pretty much explains why the band have been cited as favorites by bands like the Verve and Spiritualized. Unafraid to show their own influences, "Hound Dog" takes your basic Bo Diddley riff and slows it down by about half, and adds gracious amounts of slowly enveloping guitar work. Not willing to take the simple loud/soft dynamic like so many other bands in the same space, Acetone succeed because of their ability to sound like a group rather than a formula.

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