5 August 2017
ace quaalude - heat death electric
Firstly (and sadly this is becoming so, so frequent) an apology for the delay in getting to this album. Sorry ace quaalude, but it is here now. Ok, with that out of the way - the first time I heard ace quaalude was on the Sweet Sounds Record Spring 2016 Sampler (our review cleverly linked here) which is still one of my favourite compilations that I have had the pleasure to review. A brief history of ace quaalude - they are from Nashville, TN and (according to Facebook) "ace is luke, luke is ace". On their Bandcamp page, this is repeated many times. I love that sort of minimalist approach to the amount of information that Luke (and by default, they), not giving away too much about themselves. In the age where everything is so easily accessible on the internet, it is beautiful to find a band that is a mystery. It is harder when you are trying to review a band, but as a fan it can be a part of the charm. You are not there for the personality, you are there for the music. heat death electric was self released on 7th June 2017, so I am just a little bit behind on this one, let’s find out what it is all about......
01 - [ectoplasm]
The album starts with the noise of someone getting comfortable and then the sound of a droning keyboard or amplifier being dragging in from the shadows, wheezing with all the health of an 80-year-old smoker first thing in the morning. The noise builds up and spills over the listener, rumbling away until it is ready to split the ear drum and move onto the first song proper. It is a good little introduction, like an edited Sunn 0)))) track which is never a bad thing in my books.
02 - heat electric death
I love the lo-fi quality of the recording for "heat electric death", it gives it a live edge that is increasingly rare in a pro-tool age. "heat electric death" spills out of the speakers like a bullet train, full of energy and noise, a hint of UK indie sensibilities in places and some US punk ideals added to the mix as well. It is furious, it is passionate and it is brilliantly loud. What a track!
03 - asteroid blue
"asteroid blue" is an incredibly interesting song for me, it reminds me a lot of early 80's gothic rock in the UK, again with a mixture of punk sensibilities that make it a hard song to ignore. There is a fiery passion to the sound that makes it so catchy to these ears.
04 - rolling thunder
The foot is taking of the hyperdrive peddle here, as "rolling thunder" unleashes an atmospheric song onto the listener. It is simple, it has a gentle spirit in comparison to other songs on this release. It sort of feels like you are hearing it via a dream, as if the lo-fi recording is hiding some of the sound and making it inaccessible to people. I think it is a great song, it shows that ace quaalude is more than just flat out noise!
05 - white lighters
"white lighters" is a surprising song, a very surprising number indeed. It is an acoustic number, guitars being gently strummed and other strings plus the bass join the sound which builds up to an acoustic wall of sound that gradually raises the volume over a prolonged period, so you are not aware of the increase of volume until the music stops. You cannot teach something like this, it only comes via talent and there is a lot of talent on show on this song.
06 - pure haunt
Not gonna lie, I could not get into this song. The track is lynched together on a loop, spinning around which feels like you are spinning around on a waltzer. It is slightly off centre, it does not have a natural rise & fall that makes it hard to listen to for me (I was very ill on a waltzer once). But it is well performed, just one that sort of triggers strange feels in me.
07 - carolina reaper
This instrumental song sounds like a cross between The Breeders, The Beach Boys and Mogwai, it is a waterfall of noise and sound that have a powerful impact! I adore this song, the energy coming from it is beautiful and it is without a shadow of a doubt the best song on offer here. I think that you need to hear it now, what are you waiting for????
08 - casketmouth
In comparison, "casketmouth" is a dark beast with a hardcore punk attitude at its core. It has angular riffs, droning noise and explosive drums that sound like they will smash through the fuzzy wall of sound. It is over far too soon for me, but it is still a brilliant number and it is sometimes best to leave people wanting more.
09 - sunstepper
This is a strange one, even by the standards of heat death electric, but not in a bad way. It has hints of Frank Black if he was fronting the Eels, with a frantic drumbeat that is at odds with the acoustic drone that is being produced by the guitars and it all comes together with bizarre results. I love the way it sounds, I love the way it falls apart and disintegrates at the end, but it is still a difficult one to process in some ways.
10 - antioch deathkiller
The penultimate song has a "death to indie disco" feeling to it, a reverb downbeat sound that is moodier than a teenager having a tantrum. It is a dark piece, again a little too short for my taste, but it is still a brilliant number.
11 - evp
Ending this album is the song "evp", this is an eight-minute beast of in three parts. It starts off with a high octave noise/punk opening that lasts for four minutes, then it is an acoustic section as if they have shifted down a gear if only to catch their breath. Then, with a beautiful ease, it is back on the attack and it makes for a great ending to this album. The song is give time to grown, it unfolds naturally and it does not feel rushed. It is a great way to end the album!
Lo-fi music is such a wonderful art form, one that is often frowned upon which is such a shame as it has a lot to offer. heat death electric is a shining example of everything that is right with the genre, it has a personality that transcends to a higher level. Some people would use words like Bohemian and avant-garde; for me it is just a quality Lo-fi, Noise Rock release that has a charm which cannot be denied. When they are on point, they make some fantastic noise! I hope that they release further records and I would like to apologise for the delay in reviewing this. Do yourself (and ace quaalude) a favour, check this out as it will not disappoint you!
8 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my time, money and heart
Top track - carolina reaper
You can purchase heat death electric on the ace quaalude Bandcamp page here.
You can follow the activities of ace quaalude on Facebook here.
heat death electric is not available on any streaming site, but as you can stream it on the ace quaalude Bandcamp page, why would you want to stream it elsewhere?
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