Release Date: Label: Bella Union Link: It’s hard to be angry with a band like the Acorn. Bands that forage with such light tonal rhythms, whispering through tracts of wide-open expanse with the aid of plucky guitars and twinkling vocals – it all makes it so difficult to bear grudges. It’s that saccharine musical sway, like the rhythm of a thousand flitting hearts, that bathes it all in such tenderness and innocence – like the moment you find yourself staring over the sunset, girl in arm, glistening in glory. You know it’s cut straight from the cloth of picture postcard triteness, but nonetheless there you are, cockles of the heart fully warmed, awash in juniper glow. The Acorn is that scene, primal landscape refitted with the resplendence of airbrushed perfection. It’s a Hollywood sheen that shines so bright, it purrs in its own shadow, aching radiance, eager to permeate rhythm and gentleness into every pore. Opener “Hold Your Breath” crackles under this premise, understated, built on fractious piano notes, a lilting rhythm and the warbles of a guitar arising from the beneath the musky mountainside dew. As the chequered guitar reaches steadiness, the song builds up into a momentary crescendo, only to subside at almost the same pace at which it arrived. Notes stream forth but are buried, losing themselves in the slight aural mulch. The record’s song titles play like the monumental journey across barren lands, breath held and chest tightened, ready to confront the “Flood” – a song that starts in celebratory, ritualistic fashion. A traveller reaches jungle, induced into a samba like trance as playful guitars skitter across low hanging trees. These are musical skittles, scattered freely along the song’s rainbow-tainted path, each onlooker compelled by the hazy, booty shaking, sun-soaked symphony. As the musical discourse into the territory once trod by a Willard Price novel continues, “Even while you’re sleeping”, captures a jabbing rhythm, plaintive guitar pickings reflected from the fast-fading sunlight, a momentary lapse from the junglist din. “Crooked Legs” is the jungle foray proper, the tentative and curious steps through the morass, amities left behind, each step taken in wonderment and uncertainty. Unfortunately, even for the Acorn, the fact that their musical legs are already slightly crooked at this early stage, seems to augur less than promisingly for the remainder of the record, “I’m going as far as these crooked legs take me” the singer croons. Luckily, there’s life in the adventure yet. “Glory” starts off in languid style, propelled by random knocks and playful taps, sliding guitar; a song that survives despite being a little overstuffed by the violin, an iridescent guitar and its energetic gyrations. While the band relentlessly pins itself to shapen melody, it’s often a slight disappointment that the singer’s well toned voice is restrained, shackled on songs that are strict in following delicately faded and worn vocal harmonies. The Acorn are the journey we’ve all taken or mused upon like hopeless romantics – we’ve covered it in glossy frame, perhaps even embellished on its detail a little. However sheepishly we admit it, somewhere out there we are a lone traveller, burdened only by a shoulder wide rucksack, sweat gliding across his brow. Should he stop to reflect on all that has been left behind, The Acorn would be never more than a breath away, rustling at their instruments among the undergrowth. 3/5