After their extremely successful Glory Hope Mountain, this group of Ottawans retired to a secluded area, focusing on each other and their songwriting. The result is the Acorn‘s third full-length, No Ghost, and its a recorded moment of a band working closely together, tying together the loose ends, and pushing themselves to the max; it all turns out pretty successful.
Guitars barely trickle in at the opening moments of “Cobbled From Dust,” while singer Rolf Klausener kicks things off. Slowly, you can feel the mood begin to change again, and as it does, Rolf’s voice soars off, meeting up with the soft percussive accompaniment. It’s an unassuming opening, but one that reveals the attention to details throughout No Ghost. Even the touches of distorted feedback seem to have a place here.
For the most part, this a quiet affair, and even the loud moments seem super soft. “Misplaced” really narrows it all down to the barebones effects, just using Klausener, backing vocals, guitar, and minor percussion appearances. Still, something special manages to escape to the ears of the listener, especially as Rolf sings “I know I know I know I won’t be misplaced.” It’s an extremely gentle vocal, yet one that drives home the lyrical and musical message, allowing you to absorb it together as one unified piece. Similarly, “On the Line” reminds one of those old home recordings Sam Beam used to give us in his early days. There’s a bit of vocal harmony here, but you get the sense that the band probably all just sat in a little circle, cuddled around a fire on a cold Canadian night, trying to craft the most beautiful song they could muster.
There’s not really a song, or a moment, where The Acorn doesn’t seem successful on this latest musical adventure, but it’s the home-stretch that makes it all worthwhile for every listener. “Slippery When Wet,” aside from its atrocious hair band allusion, is perhaps one of the greatest moments of the year to come out of the down-trodden genre. Light string arrangements dance alongside gentle picking of instruments, giving a more solemn tone to the track. And Rolf’s vocal performance here is hands-down the best you’ll find on No Ghost. But, they don’t stop here, filling out the back end of the record with remarkable moments that bring everything home for the audience. “Kindling to Cremation” definitely feels like the whole band got together to wrap up the whole affair, bringing in everyone’s skills to the table, utilizing their various talents, and giving us one final piece of quiet beauty. Just a great end to a great listen.
While some may yearn for a bit more variance in the songs and their writing style, sometimes its good to stick to what you know best. The Acorn definitely know what their good at, and it appears to be writing bedroom listens full of beauty, if your bedroom just happens to be inside a nice log cabin. No matter how long you listen to this record, one thing will always remain constant; No Ghost continue to craft delicate pieces of grandeur for all of us to enjoy.
Download: The Acorn – Restoration [MP3]