By Phil Cooper
Portsmouth based four-piece Acres have been pushing their brand of metal since 2015. They’ve been honing and developing their sound since the release of 2017’s EP ‘In Sickness & Health’. Regarding this release, by the band’s own admission it was a slightly haphazard operation. With enough written material equating to nearly an album, the then new singer was required to adapt his style to the sound and style of Acres and simultaneously make his own impression. ‘Lonely World’ now sees a unified sound and style come forward. Over the course of ten tracks what can be expected from the latest offering?
Upon the first run through of ‘Lonely World’ it is immediately apparent to the listener that this is the sound of a band locking together in a united front. By the third run through its apparent they’ve clearly put in the hard work in understanding how each musician can work within the realms of the song structures. The rhythm section is a solid foundation throughout that provides not only the drive but also, when required, an ear grabbing breakdown force to be reckoned with. Complimenting the rhythmic side is the guitar. From infectious, catchy riffs and melodies to attacking and engaging lead work. There is an excellent balance across the instrumentation board demonstrating a talented group of musicians working together. Rounding out the texture is the vocals. Much like the rest of the band, the voice of Ben Lumber has its own identifiable place within the mix that works in balance throughout the texture. Cutting through with clarity to deliver powerfully emotive lyrics that deal with everything from mental health, personal relationships and the human condition.
With the orchestral like build of ‘Deathbed’ swelling the opening sound, the album kicks off proper with ‘Medicine’. The heavier aspect of Acres’ sound is complimented by a highly polished production that provides an engaging aspect for the listener. One is immediately pulled in by the sound quality of tracks such as ‘Medicine’ along with the title track and the powerful ‘You are Not’ only to be immersed into what are deeply personal lyrics that can resonate with anyone who is listening along with driving, pounding rhythms and overdriven catchy riffs.
The lyrical aspect is once more part of the high quality of this record and the song writing of the band. They’ve created a collection of ten tracks that offer the listener a personal, honest vulnerability to themselves. However, they haven’t gone so far as to make the content autobiographical and potentially alienate the audience, there is an underpinning ambiguity that allows for the listener to form their own connection. All of this is coupled with the excellent musical compositions that provide a sweeping, well layered wall of sound that ranges from the attacking aggression found in tracks such as ‘Be Alone’, ‘Talking in Your Sleep’ and album closer ‘Skin Over Mine’ through to the dynamically different ‘Lullaby’.
There are enough layers within the music on ‘Lonely World’ to keep each track sounding fresh and engaging without the hint of any repetition in ideas or formula. Acres have delivered a debut that encapsulates where they are as a unified band and demonstrate what they are capable of as they are undeniably talented as both musicians and song writers. It does, however, leave enough room for growth and progression as no doubt this is a band only just hitting their stride and have much more to offer in the coming future.
- ‘Lonely World’ is released on Friday (9 August). You can get your copy HERE.
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