Naked Acid


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Naked Acid Review

by Heather Phares

On Naked Acid, Valet, aka Honey Owens, brings her music down to earth -- well, at least more than she did on Valet's otherworldly debut Blood Is Clean. Where that album felt like it was channeled though Owens, Naked Acid is more direct and grounded, even as it taps into hypnotic, primal sounds. "We Went There" acts as an initiation rite or guided meditation into the rest of the album, its massed vocals and sparkling percussion giving way to lysergic guitar solos that pull the song into Valet's characteristic deep drones. But even as Naked Acid wades deeper into Owens' organic sound, its pieces feel more distinct and separate than Blood Is Clean's effortless flow: "Fuck It"'s bluesy acid-rock feels miles away from the slow, dark, tar pit-like ramblings of "Babylon 4 Eva." Within each track, however, Owens' gift for making dramatic changes sound natural shines, especially on "Drum Movie," which moves from layers of electronic drones to what sounds like a jet taking off; it's not until the song is a third of the way through that softly tribal drums and flutes make their presence known. Along with the deeply trippy atmosphere throughout, Naked Acid's main constant is how seamlessly Valet blends seemingly natural and overtly manipulated sounds into trance-inducing and hyper-real musical worlds. This is where Owens really outdoes herself on the album, whether it's on relatively simple tracks like "Kehaar" and "Fire," where she uses just her voice, guitar and some judicious effects to make hauntingly lovely music, or "Streets," where electronic beats transform the ethereal vocals and synths into something very different from the rest of Valet's music. A transitional album, Naked Acid might be a shade less satisfying than Blood Is Clean, but it takes Owens' work in some intriguing new directions.

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