1 October 2013

Alice Donut - Pure Acid Park


America has always had a way of shining the light on the.... well let's just call them artistically different.  Weird Al Yankovic, Sparklehorse, Butthole Surfers, the list is not endless.  Back when grunge had ridden the waves, it shone a light on everything that was dark and seedy with the underground in America.  One of the most out there acts around the middle 90's was Alice Donut.  This was their sixth album release just before they had a hiatus till 2001.  Back in the 90's there was a vibrate indie scene in America and 1996 seems to be the year that it sort of fell apart.  The Pixies and Nirvana were gone, Soundgarden were on their way out (before they got back together) and the wave of Nu-metal was on its way.  

As one of the real pioneers of the modern American independent music scene, it was a shame when they folded; but the market was against them in lots of ways.  However, they were playing out of their skin at the time.  Pure Acid Park is a strange piece, obviously of its time.  Starting with "Millennium" the basic beginning which builds up to a joyful jumping around that kind of reminds me of the Polyphonic Spree, but with less members obviously.  Following on is the catchy "Dreaming In Cuban" which takes everything up a notch, yet this song sounds a lot like Sparklehorse.  And it is a familiar pattern throughout the album; most of the tracks here remind me of other bands - "I Walked Like A Zombie" reminds me of the more out there moments of My Morning Jackets and a rock n roll all girl group song, "Shinny Path" is a less prog Flaming Lips, "Mummschantz Pachinko" could be a break in many bands sets (Primus mostly comes to mind); I really could do on and on about this.

Now it may seem like a lot of belly aching there, but that is not the case.  It is just that the American indie/alternative scene is very much a mix and match place at times, with artists that sound very similar coming to the forefront and half inching everyone else’s ideas and sharing them as well with everyone quite freely.  They are like a patch work quilt.  It is made up of many things and feels really cosy.  Probably not what these guys were aiming for, but it is not almost 20 years old so it cannot be held as much else other than a trip down memory lane for some or a look into the past for others.  When I first heard this I was really impressed, but it has diminished a little on repeat listens.  I do like this, I have always had a soft spot for this type of music; but there is better out there (some of it from this band themselves).  They are still playing now and have released other works since.  Sometimes you cannot keep something down that is not finished and I am glad this was not their last release.

5.5 out of ten - It could have been a bit better

You can purchase one of the formats of the album from Amazon here

You can visit the Alice Donut website here

You can listen to the album on Spotify here

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