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Acupuncture - EP

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Album Review

Beginning their regular switch between recording for VHF and Kranky, Acupuncture extends the Doldrums ethic to another fine release, a touch less immediately playful around the edges and more conventionally mysterious, but no less fascinating and bewitching for it. After a quietly lovely start with the brief, shimmering "Xarpet," the trio gets down to the expected business of understated but intense drone-based guitar pieces, each one a great mini-epic in its own right and collectively a grand listen. Some of the rhythm loops — constructed out of guitar samples — call to mind the work of Main, but without that group's total sense of disturbing threat. Doldrums can be edgy when they choose to be, though, while the band's knack for wonderfully outré, goofy titles remain. Thus, a really grand, compelling float is named "Mao's Revelation in the Great Hall," which actually probably says more about the subject matter than John Adams' entire Nixon in China opera. Some of the guitar work is a touch more traditionally psych, if that's the right way to look at it — consider the fuzz break on "On the Green" about five minutes in, which disappears for a bit but comes back as nicely freaked out as ever. There's even a hint of flamenco guitar elsewhere, handled with gentle aplomb. If there's a conventional track on the album, it would have to be the wonderful "Late 70s Blue Box," with a soft, strummed chime and plaintive, melancholy vocals emerging from the distance, with additional feedback lines snaking around the mix in a just-detectable enough fashion. This gets followed up by the album's fantastic, final song, "On the Pine." With brass initially adding to the flow, it's a massive trance/Krautrock affair, chugging drumming cutting back a few minutes in to let the feedback pile up and zone out into an extended drift and jam at the end.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Falling together in 1994 as a loose conglomeration, Doldrums quickly honed a bracing twin-guitar attack, as played by Justin Chearno (ex Pitchblende) and former Rake bassist Bill Kellum, with Bill's brother Matt Kellum (who also plays with Chomsky and the Death Ray Davies) on drums. Taking off from the launching pad of Bob Weir and Jerry Garcia, Doldrums debuted with the "XA" 7" and quickly began refining a style that combined blissful and twisting guitar journeys with the nuts and volts of cerebral...
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Acupuncture - EP, Doldrums
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