Momma Miss America! Ye gods! Zounds! And also, “What the hell is THAT?” These are just a handful of the fun phrases you’ll be saying as well when you listen to Acumen’s Diversity. Unfortunately for the band, I don’t mean that in a good way. Picture, if you will, a hellish cross between Rush and the Grateful Dead. Now that you have that nightmare imagery in your head, take a listen to the first track on here entitled “Drowning in the Backwash” (and damn if that’s not swell in itself) and you’ll have the complete picture. Like a tilt-a-whirl out of control in the middle of a Renaissance Fair, Diversity is one queasy ride.
Hey! Your Blues for Allah is in my 2112! No, your 2112 is in my Blues for Allah! Horrible! I wish I could find the words. I’m grasping for concise thought, but “No Surprise” is rattling away on my stereo and it’s all I can do to fend off visions of fashionable Wiccans and pagans gleefully dancing under the moonlight to this music. Pull out the rune stones and patchouli, maaaan. But hey, don’t take my word for it. Just listen to what the band says!
“Kinda like a musical version of an M.C. Escher drawing” goes the website in reference to the song “One Eye Closed”. Funny, I would have said that the damn thing was composed and recorded with one eye closed as the “polyrhythmic” and “very strange combinations of simultaneous rhythms” (give ’em points for redundancy) of the tune sound like a sixth-grade band ensemble gone horribly wrong. But wait! “‘You’re on Your Own’ sounds like it comes straight out of a classic French or Italian Film”. They’re right on that one. I couldn’t have been more annoyed by the pretentiousness of it all.
“The album certainly fits its title” goes another blurb. Well you know so do Nurse With Wound and Captain Beefheart albums, but at least they have some master visionaries behind them. I’m afraid that Dimitrious James (the person responsible for this group) is not even close. His fusions of “Truckin'” and “Fly by Night” just make for one weird stew. And of course, with bands like these, the more pretentious the ideas, the longer the tunes. If you make it through the seven minutes of “Queen of Denial” (Ha! It’s only been about thirty seconds since I last heard that one) and the eight-plus of “What You Believe” then I know you’ve been hittin’ the old whipped cream can again.
You may think I’m harsh but, honestly, stuff this hackneyed needs to be informed of the pain that it inflicts upon unsuspecting music fans. Not every band has songs worth putting onto a disc and mass marketing. Acumen is one such group. I listen and try to come up with something positive, something to make the experience worthwhile, but it just doesn’t happen for me here. So if you really must hear the befuddled sounds of “Sarah’s Dance” and “Too Many Choices”, save a few bucks and look for this group’s music online. And if you can’t find it there, I promise you’re still better off.