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Acquiesce

Shattered

(Disco Finger Music; US: 22 Oct 2004; UK: Available as import)

This one goes to 11...

Beeg guitazz…: That’s how Angus Young once described the sound of AC/DC. Had he not been referencing his own band, Young could have easily been speaking of New York’s best kept secret, Acquiesce. Capitalizing on the huge noise nostalgia that acts have been shooting for as of late (see the Darkness, Jet, and the Datsuns), Gotham’s power foursome makes a bold statement with its latest release, putting the music world on notice: Acquiesce has arrived, and the boys are turning it up… L-O-U-D…


Although Shattered is technically an EP, the five songs offer a full album’s worth of amplified muscle. Remember the glorious guitar roar of the ‘70s? That’s what Acquiesce unapologetically dishes out, achieving far better results than most of its contemporaries. Each track segues into the next with precision, analogous to a turbo-charged rally car negotiating a slalom course, downshifting into the turns, then burying the speedometer on the straight-aways. The disc is an energized ride, so fasten your safety belts and get ready to rock and roll...


From the outset it’s clear the band’s intention is to grab everyone by the throats and hammer them with a barrage of heavy riffs. Listen to the intro of “Messing With You” and think back to Foghat’s “Slow Ride”. Then prepare yourself for nearly four minutes of the tastiest guitar hooks this side of Ted Nugent.


After enduring the initial salvo, listeners are lulled into a false sense of sonic security with the disc’s title track. Ratcheted down a notch, but lacking nothing in aggression, “Shattered” allows guitarists Dan Sweeney and Brett Kohart to fall into a melodic groove, jumping forward a decade and sounding like early U2, but with bigger balls.


Track three, “Lost in Your Game”, finds the band traveling back in time once again, with Kohart’s lead vocals riding a monster wave of Sweeney’s arena rock power chords. How much wallop is packed into roughly 200 seconds? Listen closely to the song’s waning moments and you might hear Gary Rossington, Allen Collins, and Steve Gaines dueling each other in “Freebird”. Impressed? You should be…


Another brief respite from the full blown assault is provided with the grit and grind of “Corporate Line”. Don’t be fooled however, as with track two, the tempo may have changed but the prevailing energy and punch hasn’t. The band is skilled enough so that its attack can ebb and flow without losing any momentum.


The closing track, “When It Changed”, provides the disc’s most interesting moment; in most other hands the song would have degenerated into a tepid Bon Jovi-esque power ballad. Yet Kohart provides sufficient vocal edge to Sweeney’s chiming lead work, keeping the song consistent with the Goldilocks Principle: Not too much power, not too little power…just the right amount.


Five songs… 18 minutes… and then it’s over…


Having found the ideal balance between melodic power pop and metal crunch, Acquiesce is a throwback to the heavy, guitar driven, in-your-face rock and roll that used to rule the world, but without the clichéd bombast. Couple the band’s aggressive signature sound with a growing reputation on the East and West coast gig circuit, and Acquiesce has crafted the perfect recipe for breakthrough success. Beeg guitazz and dynamic live shows? Make a note: 2005 is going to be the year when we all acquiesce and turn it up… L-O-U-D…

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