Momentum — it’s as important to music as it is to, say, driving.
Back when I was learning how to drive, my brother showed me a trick. To get up a hill, drivers should speed up before they reach the foot of the hill, then let momentum take them up the hill, so the engine doesn’t work as hard.
Back when I was learning music history, my professors said Ludwig van Beethoven stretched out his codas to slow down the momentum of his works.
What do any of these anecdotes have to do with Acidman’s second album Loop? The answer can be found between tracks five and eight.
For the first half of the album, Acidman build some great momentum. The songs pretty much conform to the sound the band established on its debut album, Soo — high-speed, ball-busting post-grunge bordering on emo.
Some of the songs are even better than ones found on Soo. The chorus on “Isotope” is pure sugar, while the music itself loses no muscle. Singer Ooki Nobuo nearly busts a lung on “Nami, Shiroku”. And the opener “type-A” is a blood pumper.
The title of “Slow View”, however, describes the song’s contents perfectly — and it’s that break in the momentum that breaks the album entirely.
Because immediately afterward is a nearly seven-minute mid-tempo track, “repeat” — also a descriptive title since that opening hook refuses to go away.
The instrumental “16185-0” is a three-minute prelude to the 6 1/2-minute “O”, essentially creating a 10-minute track. Together, those tracks attempt to rebuild the momentum lost in the preceding 10 1/4 minutes, but they fail because, well, they’re not terribly interesting songs.
The disco beat on “O” in particular just doesn’t lend much emo cred.
Acidman get back on track somewhat with the last half of the album, dishing out a second set of rockers, but the quality of the writing is spotty.
“dried out” can’t decide if it’s a distant relative to scat or a direct descendant of alt rock. “swayed” suffers from a repetitive structure that shoegazer bands have better skill pulling off.
By the time Acidman reclaims its songwriting chops, Loop is over.
The band fumbles the album’s momentum half-way through, and it doesn’t manage to get it back. Acidman sped up at the foot of the hill, but it didn’t manage to reach the peak. The group certainly tried, though.
And Loop had such a great start too.