If I was the kind of shallow bastard that many record fans might claim to think I am, then I’d dismiss The Capitol Years’ Meet Yr Acres solely on the grounds that was partially recorded at Thom Monahan’s studio. Monahan is the current bassist for the Pernice Brothers. My ears could never stand a not of the Pernice Brothers. But I’m not that shallow. In “fact”, my “opinion” is that The Capitol Years are a-fucking-OK. Nah, they’re better than OK. They rock well, Rockwell.
Or should I say Shai Halperin (ex-Mastercaster) rocks well. After all, he did the whole kit ‘n’ kaboodle on this disc. During the live gigs, The Capitol Years also include Kyle Lloyd and Dave Daniels. They hail from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. So here I go once more with a praise-filled review for a Philly band. There’s so much more to the city than a bell and spreadable food products! Of course, again, I’m not shallow enough to think that there wasn’t.
Some critics have apparently not known how to really peg Meet Yr Acres. My only question is why not? I mean, yeah I get the odd disc every now and then that defies categorization more or less, but I still try to place it somewhere. The Capitol Years’ music is not so way out there. In fact, it’s a nice little lo-fi buzz generated by Shai’s grumbling basement rock and greasy lead vocals. Of course, there are those out there who have a hard time writing about lo-fi rock, as if they were lost without references points. No, you can’t compare The Capitol Years to Fleetwood Mac or Boston.
But to say Meet Yr Acres is tough to place is silly. Hell, let’s just face the facts that these guys have their own sound. I’m not going to dole out the other comparisons I’ve read, such as Guided by Voices or J Mascis, because frankly, I don’t think those two suit this band at all. If anything, I’d say their sound has more to do with The Velvet Underground, if a bit less Lou Reed-ish. Yet Halperin does close out the album with a great cover of the VU’s “All Tomorrow’s Parties” that’s as moving as the original. Proof positive that there are other Velvet tunes to cover successfully besides “Sweet Jane” and “Femme Fatale”.
Even the simple “Lord, Lord, I’ve Gone Blind” echoes the equally simple “Jesus” by the Velvets. It’s stark, moody, and delicate, and it works. However, Halperin is also capable of rocking it out, as on the opening, quasi-psychedelic “Roller’s Row” shows. “Here Comes” features some nagging straightly strummed guitars and Halperin’s distorted vocals, but again, that works, too. And how about “Sitar Fixer” that sounds kind of like Dave Gilmour circa 1968? Sure, that’s great as well. It’s nice to see Halperin easily able to work with sounds of the past and not have them come out sounding like some incapable wannabe record. In fact, Meet Yr Acres maintains a high level of inspired music throughout its 11 songs.
From the strange twang of “Faces and Beer” to the Indian-like calm of “Siamese Suns” and the fuzzy, funky “Supper” with its pulsing bass line, this album sports many different styles and grand variations on the older themes. As I said, I quite like it and have no troubles whatsoever finding the reference points that some of the others may need to connect the proverbial dots here. While Halperin injects the old ghosts into his sounds, he also does it his way, making Meet Yr Acres a pleasant and rewarding listen. Will you like it? Well, I would definitely think that the music fans with a taste for lo-fi indie rock will find something here well worth getting into. Heck, even the Fleetwood Mac fans might hum along as well.
// Notes from the Road
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