The Lowdown: On their debut LP, Williamsburg psych punks Acid Dad polish up the shaggy weirdness of Thee Oh Sees and Ty Segall with occasional flashes of Television’s guitar tones and the Stone Roses’ grinning nonchalance.
The Good: The band’s taste in influences, which adds unexpected dimensions to their tried-and-true guitar rock template. You’ll find shades of Ian Brown’s weird affectless joy on standout single “2ci”, stabs of Tom Verlaine’s guitar on the bruised “Marine”, and a sick, sludge-y bassline straight out of early-’90s Seattle on the chugging “Mistress”. Opener “Die Hard” is also a must-listen; after lulling you into a false sense of security with an intro borrowed straight from Real Estate’s least-threatening B-side, the song explodes into a tight rock jam whose earworm chorus (“Mess with us/ and you’ll die hard”) could get you arrested at an airport.
The Bad: While Acid Dad devotes half their record to hi-fi rock ragers ready for your most vigorous fist pumps, they spend the other half plodding through slow jams that are more the former than the latter. Momentum-wasting cuts like “Child” and “Bada Bing” are the biggest offenders here, but “Come Outside” and “Mow My Lawn” also suffer. The fact that singer Vaughn Hunt defaults to a detached, emotionless delivery doesn’t help, either.
The Verdict: The album’s strongest parts indicate a giant leap forward (in both talent and influences) from the band’s previous work, while its weakest parts are merely forgettable. Thus, Acid Dad comes out ahead on balance. While it does indicate that the band still has some work to do when it comes to translating its raved-about live shows into a consistent studio effort, it also suggests that this Brooklyn four-piece is nowhere near finished when it comes to its musical evolution. Right now, that’s enough to earn a vote of confidence.
Essential Tracks: “2ci”, “Die Hard”, and “Mistress”