Acquiesce: Shattered

Adam Williams

Who said you need a major label to compete with the big boys? Acquiesce shatters that notion with a blast of energized New York rock 'n' roll.



Label: Disco Finger Music
US Release Date: 2004-10-22
UK Release Date: Available as import

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...


If space is time—and space is literally time in the comics form—the world of the novel is a temporal cage. Manuele Fior pushes at the formal qualities of that cage to tell his story.

Manuele Fior's 5,000 Km Per Second was originally published in 2009 and, after winning the Angouléme and Lucca comics festivals awards in 2010 and 2011, was translated and published in English for the first time in 2016. As suggested by its title, the graphic novel explores the effects of distance across continents and decades. Its love triangle begins when the teenaged Piero and his best friend Nicola ogle Lucia as she moves into an apartment across the street and concludes 20 estranged years later on that same street. The intervening years include multiple heartbreaks and the one second phone delay Lucia in Norway and Piero in Egypt experience as they speak while 5,000 kilometers apart.

Keep reading... Show less

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

Keep reading... Show less

The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

Keep reading... Show less

To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.

Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

Keep reading... Show less

Gallagher's work often suffers unfairly beside famous husband's Raymond Carver. The Man from Kinvara should permanently remedy this.

Many years ago—it had to be 1989—my sister and I attended a poetry reading given by Tess Gallagher at California State University, Northridge's Little Playhouse. We were students, new to California and poetry. My sister had a paperback copy of Raymond Carver's Cathedral, which we'd both read with youthful admiration. We knew vaguely that he'd died, but didn't really understand the full force of his fame or talent until we unwittingly went to see his widow read.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.