The Acid is a collaboration between Ry Cuming, an Australian singer/songwriter with a Jeff Buckley fixation – yes, another! – and Steve Nalepa and Adam Freeland. They’re both beatmakers and producers, Nalepa is an Ableton Live instructor, Freeland has done it all on the DJ scene from boiler-room and club workouts, across hip-hop and dance music beats and always looking to show off some indie cred.
The resulting album from these three working together, Liminal, is rather nice – a bit like if James Blake had tunes rather than just warble, a bit like King of Limbs-era Radiohead without the baggage of being Radiohead and the expectations around all that the band had done leading up to that album. And a bit like Thom Yorke playing it super straight on his solo releases.
Those are the basic ideas anyway.
And so Liminal has the odd mind-bending moment as straight songs suddenly – brilliantly – get a bit weird (Animal) and then there are the pared back beat-focussed pieces (Creeper) but the album also plays it very straight at times (Veda), sometimes worryingly so. And the real problem with the album, what lets it down ultimately, is that for all the clever moments it’s just a stock-standard set of five-minute long rise-and-fall songs – nearly an hour long (it’s at least 15 minutes too long as an album) and for every strangely beautiful moment – Ghosts being one part R’n’B, one part techno – it just starts to somehow feel a bit samey, even with everything thrown at it.
It suffers from that “supergroup” issue – three different minds stretching in three different directions, all wanting to have their shtick and sound showcased. In the end that means that every song – whilst being different – ends up the same. These songs all end up running their course in the same way, doing the same things even if there’s a huge range of ideas when you take them track by track.
I like this music – but I find I can only approach it in track bites. The album as a whole becomes unsatisfying.