[Rating: 3 stars]
Sometimes it’s nice to dip a toe into the water before jumping in. Thankfully, the first sound you hear on The Acorns’ latest effort, No Ghost, serves as a primer for what’s to come. Be careful when listening though. While those acoustic guitar notes tumbling down on “Cobbled From Dust” come off as smooth, melodic and relaxing, the full song might inspire you to get up out of your chair and grab a hammer and nails. You might find yourself building something, preferably as complicated as the track you’re listening to. Starting slowly, “Cobbled From Dust” soon becomes a structured force of sound—each note serving as a stepping-stone for what’s to come; each verse lacking without what came before.
In fact, most of the Canadian indie band’s follow-up to their breakthrough album, Glory Hope Mountain, follows this same trend. There is layer upon layer of atmospheric guitar and piano chords and thumping drums, all making themselves heard over the same foundation of finger-picking guitar patterns. Even the most rock ‘n’ roll track, “Bobcat Goldwraith,” starts with and then later, after much cacophony, unravels to reveal the same building blocks underneath. The plinking and plunking riffs of No Ghost prove inescapable.
That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, mostly because what follows those riffs is done so well. Be it the crunchy guitar work of “I Made The Law” or the distant reverb throughout the ballad “On The Line,” The Acorn continually change up the materials for their house of song. The title track, “No Ghost,” seems to be the one exception. It comes already built, starting with an electric guitar blast. Don’t worry though. If you wait a few minutes for the storm to pass, the building will stop rocking. After all, its roots go down deep.