Acrylics is the musical partnership of Molly Shea and Jason Klauber. The pair, who married in 2014, has been making music together for over a decade. There's a special kind of energy that develops between collaborators over time and we hear that subtle telepathy within the tracks of Acrylics' new album DADA minor, out this September. The painterly approach to songcraft that earned 2011’s Lives and Treasure and 2009’s All of the Fire EP critical acclaim is further refined here. Trademark interplay between Shea and Klauber's voices is more pronounced and sonically adventurous than ever before. The same goes for their guitar work. Sometimes lush harmonies blanket the landscape. Other passages are sung in percussive unison as two voices are forged into one new voice. Here, Acrylics have put together a set of melodies worth holding onto.
DADA minor is a textured work incorporating many musical themes into one whole. The LP traverses reverberant cinematic soundscapes, and dances unbridled through sun-drunk and saturated psychedelia. Sly Stone rhythm machines, the motorik ambient spells of kosmische/kraut, and the free jazz séance also surface, as does the acerbic trash punk attitude of good ol' New York.
Taking shape during a year of writing, re-writing and home-recording, the final selections were tracked and mixed in several studios and apartments across New York City. Overdubs and ghostly atmospherics were recorded in a barn in the Poconos and a house in Woodstock. Acrylics completed sessions in SOHO’s recently shuttered Magic Shop one day after David Bowie’s last known session. Acrylics co-produced DADA minor with Eric Gorman (Kuroma, Au Revoir Simone) and Josh Ascalon (Neon Indian, Twin Shadow). Heba Kadry (Beach House, Neon Indian) was mastering engineer. Frequent collaborators Sam Mason (Willy Mason), Will Berman (MGMT), Joaquin Cotler (Chickentown), James Richardson (MGMT), William Flynn (St. Vincent), Danny Meyer (Chairlift, Julia Holter), and Patrick Wimberly (Chairlift, Blood Orange, Solange Knowles) also made key contributions to the fabric of the album.
Shea and Klauber remain devoted to album-craft, each song existing as a planet within a larger solar system. Like any well-sequenced long-player, DADA minor is immersive and takes on a three-dimensional quality over the course of its two sides. It's like a place visited in a dream or a distant memory, you can look but you can't touch. Multiple listenings only increase this transportive feeling. The record spins, the needle locks into orbit and charts a journey across vinyl, space and time as it spirals smoothly toward the axis.
Acrylics songs are derived from simple melodies and chord structures and made unique through harmonic displacement and the slow building of supportive textures. Songs such as “Please Police Me” are collaged together from torn-up fragments and reassembled into fresh combinations in search of a new whole. Comparable to propellers on a motorboat, the gyroscopic "round form" heard on “One In Seven”, "Sunset Peach” and "Battersea Blues" creates forward momentum while disorienting and delighting the ear.
DADA minor’s release coincides with the 100th anniversary of Dada. Born in Zurich, 1916, Dada has never died. Its central tenets have lived on in surrealist, pop, situationist, punk and post-modern movements and attitudes. Dada is subversive in the way that a clown is. It hurls water balloons and cream pies in the face of authority and artifice. Dada is like laughing and weeping at the same time. DADA minor’s lyrical themes address money and power, war, self-destruction, personal anger and finding meaning in a world of chaos using the absurd as a weapon. There's a lot of talk about dogs and cars too. Regardless, global terror, poverty, 24-hour news coverage, the massive mind-numbing effect of hand-held devices, social media, and the suffocating pressure of big enterprise are all limiting creativity. Constant surveillance looms as the data miners continue to gobble up more and more of our private hearts each and every day...But who's giving up? Art, love and laughter are still good tonics and really are our only defense against a more faceless future. DADA minor humbly casts a small stone in the direction of the behemoth. Let 'er rip.
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