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15 May 2008 @ 12:32 pm
Acetone - York Ave.  

It's always a weird thing (and never a good thing!) when you notice a band you've always like hasn't done anything for a while and you look them up on-line only to find that they broke up because a band member died. In the case of Acetone, the band member was Richie Lee, the bassist, and his death was by suicide in July of 2001, a little less than a year after this album was released. One always wonders why, and there are people who know, but in his case I'm left to wonder why. It's true that the band was/is mostly overlooked by the alterna-nation it was (poorly) marketed towards, but, after three records on Virgin's '90s alternative subsidiary, Vernon Yard they seemed comfortable enough of a fit on the Neil Young related Vapor label. Three years had passed between their self-titled release for Vapor and this album, but they were certainly in fine form. This album is actually better than the 1997 album. It's closer in sound to their second full album, 'If You Only Knew,' their certifiable classic, and the songs are stronger than ever. From the low-key assurances of "Things Are Gonna Be Alright" to the shuffling "It's A Lie,' which comes with distorted guitar breaks and everything, side one is fine (I have the vinyl...with the bonus of two rather upsetting skips that make me get up and advance the needle). Side two is even better, as far as nice, cool puddles of sound. I just love the singing and guitar playing of Mark Lightcap, especially when his vocals are near a whisper, or when his guitar breaks character for a rather loud solo on "Bonds." The main thing about 'York Blvd.' is that they sound like a band comfortable in their skin. "One Drop" is a lucid dream, and all around I'm reminded of how similar they and Nada Surf were at about the same time (Nada Surf has changed somewhat since, even though I still enjoy them). Lee's bass is an absolutely essential part of the band's sound, and it's easy to see how just losing his part would totally make going on impossible (aside from, most obviously, the loss of his friendship). There's also a dreamier version of Hot Tuna at work on "Vaccination," which sound a little like 'Serpent of Dreams' (from Tuna's 'America's Choice' album). It's really a shame, but there seems to be nothing from either of the surviving members since then. As understandable as that is, it's mostly sad, and I wish there was a way the playing and singing of Mark Lightcap could be heard again. Acetone is a band I really miss, and it's been two years since I discovered why they weren't around, I sort of expected the rest of the band would re-surface someday.
the lunatic is: wonderful world
happy sad?: calmcalm
what is that?: acetone