Understanding Music

Their cracked leftfield guitar rock is inherently worthy, often very good...

Not that you imagine it troubles them much, but [a]AC Acoustics[/a] are a group who, despite enjoying a reliable swell of critical acclaim around the time of their records, get forgotten in the interim. Yes, their cracked leftfield guitar rock is inherently worthy, often very good, but there comes a point in everyone’s life when they must stop and ask whether humanity really needs more Glaswegians who think they’re Americans.

Still, should the verdict condemn [a]AC Acoustics[/a] to oblivion, they’re not going down without a fight. At times ‘Understanding Music’ is a marvellous third album, one which smashes the limited boundaries of its particular genre. Paul Campion‘s voice, more than ever before, exhibits a richness that’s tuned in to his band’s expanded field of vision; coal-black and romantic on ‘Chinese Summer’, frail and tempered during ‘Arcane Action Man’, suitably hazed for ‘Supercup’‘s Dinosaur Jr impersonation.

But ‘She Kills For Kicks’ is the real revelation: grand and anthemic as ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’, and deserving of comparable sales. It won’t though, largely because of their insistence on releasing guff like ‘Crush’ as singles.

[a]AC Acoustics[/a] have benefited from the patronage of Placebo (all of whom guest on the album), but Brian Molko really ought to be making these swaggering, guitar-mangled delights himself. Held down only by its reluctance to make that brave leap into the experimental abyss, this is nevertheless a reliably swelling