Despite the fact that its Red Sox season here in Boston, there are a few kittens who haven’t ditched the robust music scene…yet, at least. For Tom Lau, and recent Boston emigre from Ireland, you’d think baseball wouldn’t even be on the radar; go figure, he managed to peel away, if momentarily, from the Yankees-Sox home opener series to interview an up-and-coming band, The Acrylics, for a small gig in Great Scott. And even though P&C can’t avoid the littered references to the game, for a bit of time, the music was the only attention getter…as it should be.
His interview, and review, as follows…
The Yankees are tied with Red Sox 4-4, top of the 6th. I’m sitting at the bar at Great Scott, nervously hoping Delcarmen doesn’t blow it for us. The man watching next to me turns out to be Jason Krauber, one half of The Acrylics. He and Molly Shea form the core of the Brooklyn-based band and are in Boston supporting The Smith Westerns. I got a chance to chat with the two before their show and had to carefully position my barstool so I wouldn’t end up watching the game…
TL: Welcome to Boston, how has your tour been?
Acrylics: We’ve just started again, we did SXSW and a little tour earlier with The Morning Benders and Miniature Tigers and now we’re going for another short tour.
TL: Is it just the two of you or do you have other “Acrylics”?
Acrylics: We write the songs but we have a few friends that play for different bands that help us out now and then when we go on these short tours. I think we’ve had more drummers than Spinal Tap! We’ll look into getting a more permanent drummer if we go on long tours.
TL: How was SXSW? Did you spot any good new bands?
Acrylics: It was fun but we were so busy playing shows we didn’t get to see that much stuff but I have to say I loved The Growlers. They’re from California and come out in wigs and costumes, they have so many different styles, the music is amazing, I’m not sure I can describe it.
TL: I recently liked your EP (All of the Fire), any plans for an album in the near future?
Acrylics: We actually have an album written for quite a while now. Chris Taylor (of Grizzly Bear, and producer of the EP) heard some of it and wanted to help us get out an EP so we picked out a few songs that we thought would work with Chris’ style but the actual album is a little different and should be out soon. It’s our baby and we’re looking forward to seeing people’s reactions to it.
TL: You were featured in Pitchfork recently, did that give you a noticeable bump in attention?
Acrylics: I think so, it’s amazing how the internet can help get you out to people all over the world. It’s hard these days to keep up with facebook, twitter and everything. It’s interesting reading about yourself, I think different articles have described us 70’s pop, 80’s pop, I think 3 or 4 decades of pop. We don’t think the music can be pigeon holed into a decade or combination of pop influences, we just have a real interest in harmony and melody and do what we enjoy.
TL: So what’s next for The Acrylics?
Acrylics: We’re going to continue this mini-tour for a little bit then head back to New York to finish up the album and get that out. We still keep day jobs so its tough balancing that and touring and recording. After we get the album out their will be another tour to promote that.
After the interview, the band go to prepare for their show. Molly writes up their set on the back of fliers and Jason drinks a strange tea (“it’s a Grizzly Bear secret, a special throat coat tea”)–which certainly smells unusual–while we watch Hideki Okajima loads the bases, “it’s a Grizzly Bear secret, a special throat coat tea”.
The band are preceded by “Earthquake Party”, a loud but catchy noise-core band. Jason and I find ourselves tapping our glasses to the beat as Oki proceeds to blow the lead. The Great Scott is unfortunately sparse and the situation does not improve by the time The Acrylics take the stage.
The first thing that jumps out is that these guys are real musicians, an increasingly rare sight in flavor of the month bands these days. Their harmonies are pitch perfect and despite the recent arrival of the latest drummer, their timing is pretty spot on as they deliver a mish mash of pop and rock swagger.
Jason efficiently works his guitar, moving between hooks and licks with an impressive subtlety; he even breaks out the wah-wah pedal without it entering obnoxious rock territory. One of the band members evens out the sound with a slide guitar while Molly and Jason take turns singing the leads on songs which are neatly balanced between the sultry pop swaying of “Molly’s Vertigo” and “All of the Fire” to the playful driving riffs of “Lil Ivy”.
It’s a solid set and the small crowd seemed to enjoy it despite the fact its Boston and the Red Sox opened the season this past weekend. By the time the Smith Westerns play (who I weren’t too fond of), the numbers grow but it’s still disappointing to see a good old fashioned hard working pop/rock band not quite getting the kudos they deserve for not being “indie” enough.
File Under: I bid you to rectify that by checking them out. And when is P&C getting its hands on the “tea recipe”?