Review: acab rocky - "sara"

acab rocky - sara
(2014 self-released)

Being the Dinosaur Jr. fan that I am, I can't help but wonder what might have become of the band had Lou Barlow not parted ways with J Mascis after recording Bug. Barlow's quiet, intense proto-emo found on Sebadoh's Bakesale, as well as the ultra lo-fi ethic he applied to his acoustic project Sentridoh, would have made a good pairing with Mascis' explosive sludge-pop, especially as each began to mature as songwriters. Though sara, the new CD release by Canadian duo acab rocky, has a vibe that fits in well with the new wave of lo-fi acts, there's something about the EP that reminds me of both Lou and J.

This resemblance first appears in "Interlude", an instrumental track that hearkens back to Dino's early cuts, ramshackle, yet sinister songs like "Gargoyle" and "The Lung". The rhythm guitar ripples, cold, with this really chilling vibe that leaves the listener with some degree of uneasiness. The weighty bass glides through the track like one of those vertically hanging roller coasters, making tight turns that push your head back into your seat. "Delusions" also has a very similar vibe, with an icy lead guitar riff straight out of a cheesy horror movie. The vocals are very prominent in the mix, a bit monotone against the droning chords. They're almost uncomfortably raw, as if being spoken to loud and too close to the listener. It's not a bad thing, though. It only adds to the creeping intensity of the album as a whole.

There are also moments unique to the band, though. "Mother" has a very placid shoegaze vibe, quiet pluckings and bobbing synth tones brewing in a vat of reverb. The vocals are very nice, a bit gritty but well produced. A couple of ambient tracks attach songs together, intermission has a distant, wailing guitar tone, pulled along by cello hums. For a 9 track release, acab rocky fits in a whole lot of ideas while still maintaining a sort of neo-gothic aesthetic.