I must confess that I slept for an unreasonably long time on Acid Dad’s self-titled debut album. I’m not sure how or why, I have to own that it did indeed happen. I have to own it because from the first moment the sound began to build after I put the album on my turntable and let a stylus sink into it, I was aware of what I had done – I was aware of my folly. I knew how much I liked it and (roughly) how many praises I’d have to offer it, and how many apologies I’d have to offer readers.
After so many years, I’m familiar enough with how crow tastes to know that I don’t like admitting when I screw up – but this album deserves that admission.
As the A-side of Acid Dad opens with “Die Hard,” listeners will likely find that they’ll actually have difficulty not beginning to relax as a very reverb-heavy beat opens the song with the help of some very serene-sounding keyboards. Alongside that, singer-guitarist Sean Fahey issues lyrics in a very breathy tone which sounds more sleepy than it does like the bedroom mumbles of Conor Oberst (although something about it is comparable) and listeners will find there is no escape – until their senses are shattered by the heavy E chord that Fahey and co-singer-guitarist Vaughan Hunt strike together, about forty seconds into the song.
That E chord marks a fantastic shift. Suddenly “Die Hard” goes from dreamy to dynamic as the punk vibes of the song effortlessly color it and change everything. After that E chord, Hunt takes over on the mic and everything shifts into the tone of a Seventies punk song; Hunt toys coyly with listeners as lines like “And they’ll say he, don’t care for constitutions/ He don’t know, don’t know one lie/ Gotta be dumber, than a drunken mistress” illustrate, and listeners will find that they’ll want to fall in line with the band as they go. The personality which is presented by this band on this song is a perfect hook.
After “Die Hard” sets the tone of the album, “Mr. Major” sort of follows suit in that the same punky hook is present, but it has a little more indie rock fuzz on it – so it feels a little warmer, as a result. The “Soft fuzzies” get even sweeter as “Child” introduces a chorus pedal in the band’s guitar arsenal and a whole lot of personal questioning from Hunt – which makes listeners feel like they did him wrong somehow, and rush to repair the situation. For their parts, both “2Cl” and “Come Inside” both scale the tone and tempo back to close out the side and soothe the nerves that the earlier cuts on Acid Dad may have frayed in much the same way the mellower cuts on Smashing Pumpkins’ Pisces Iscariot did. That softness will end up being the bait which coaxes listeners to keep with the album onto its B-side, and it works pretty well.
On the B-side, the opening cut rollicks along in a similar way to how The Monkees “I’m A Believer” did (great, GREAT guitar hook!) before “Mistress” seems to live in clip from excess volume but splits the difference with a great Brit-pop melody before Fahey retakes the mic to revel in teenage kicks with “Mow My Lawn” before sleepily hanging on the telephone for “No Answer” and is then joined by Hunt to languish their way dramatically through “Dissin’” to close out the album. That end – with its para-spectacular combination of great, LOUD, My Bloody Valentine-inspired guitars and dozey, drone-y vocals will leave listeners hypnotized even as the song ends – and will have them ready to restart the running as soon as the needle lifts; it is really that hypnotic.
After listeners manage to peel themselves away from Acid Dad, the question of what might come next from the band will definitely loom large. This album leaves a lot of open avenues to explore, and listeners will have no choice other than to commit what’s here to memory, for the moment. Here’s hoping Acid Dad is not long in following up on this album.
…And it is in that conclusion I find solace about the fact that I reviewed Acid Dad two years after its original release: I might not have to wait as long as others who were already won over by this album for a follow-up release.