'I can remember very clearly the time when I discovered ACRETONGUE about 4 years ago when I reviewed the demo record 'Nihil. A matured release already and aside that completely against the trend of compiling a bunch of flat dance tracks and call it an album. One day the project of Nico J would get the exposure it deserved and on 28th October that day's there. ACRETONGUE, a name taken from a character of one of Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels, has found a home with Dependent Records and is releasing the first official record 'Strange Cargo' this Friday.
'Origin' is the point where we start from with the album and it is to be seen as the personal place of origin. The clean start of life, the choices you make to reach your goes not knowing that these in particular might prevent you from every getting what you want. A simple truth placed inside an imaginary landscape that, should it ever be decrypted could mean the end or a new beginning. 'Origin' is the track you could hear on the first album teaser. It places layers within layers. It's melting the words to become one soft whispering that plants the seed inside. Beats aren't given as much emphasis as they would have been with other artists. It is simply for the sake of structure. 'Flowers In The Attic' is the quiet place inside one's soul: The one that's shielded from the outside world and possibly never given access to. The place that holds untold secrets, hopes and sorrow! Judging from the mild, twilight atmospheres set onto the dancy beat this is a very personal track for Nico. Somehow you can tell by the way it all evolves.
'Unspoken' sends out pulses of betrayal, winds of deception that form words that upon exposure initiate a process of decay of "a faith so unbounded" before. It causes too much pain for one person to heal on their own "But with you came more than pain - there's no safety here" The patterns for 'Unspoken' were chosen carefully and with subtlety. They almost seem to fade behind spindly threads of fragile melody, too brittle to touch. In 'Amber' light refracts on matter and is steered away from what is enclosed within. It is the essence of all bad feelings one can feel and which are freed when cold deceit, hurt and betrayal eat away at it like a cancer. The consequences are unpredictable and in the recent pas we've learned all too well what happens if someone's losing control. 'Amber' is living on contrasts, building from ominous, cavernous atmospheres to an emotional peak that gains most of its impact on the listener's from the vocal power hat is unleashed.
'Dragonfly' is the only track off 'Nihil' that made the cut for the album and I'm glad it did. Back when I reviewed it first I couldn't quite put it the way I should. At least it felt that way. Now, many years later I think I've found the right one. It is about a broken individual that at one point escaped from life. Not in the way a suicidal person would do it. He just removed himself from life and took on the role of an observer. Now that loneliness is slowly getting the upper hand he's beginning to see it was the wrong step to make and the he now might be too far gone to return "Collective beauty that passed you by / remains evasive as a dragonfly". 'Riven', trapped between what has been and what may be lying ahead. But how can something lie ahead if what has been hasn't been dealt with "The broken son / who thought he'd won" sometimes taking help from someone isn't similar to showing a weakness. It means making a step forward instead of being frozen in agony "The frozen son / left cold and numb" 'Riven' starts without a beat. Just a few sequences, occasional melodic incursions and the trademark voice that echoes up from the depths of the soul. While progressing, mutilated fragments and even percussion is added. All is woven to a dense network eventually where a voice becomes a fractured emotional outcry, rather than a carrier for words.
'Strange Cargo', the dark passenger, sneaking in Dexter tongue, something you can't see but which is always there inside you. A demon lurking in a dark corner of your soul waiting for the first chance to strike you down when you are weak! It is the eternal fight of mankind fighting their inner demons in hopes of keeping them in control entirely one day. Last but not least it's 'Oblivion', the most danceable track on the album, and a real good one at that. It's combining ACRETONGUE's strength in creating a highly dense fabric of atmospheres with a beat pulling through like a train through the station. You're your own worst enemy. As simple as the message is, it is true. Many times it is ourselves who're keeping us from achieving the things we're longing for. It's up to us to overcome the fears "Oblivion is not your fate"
'Strange Cargo' has become what I hoped it to be the counterpoint to dance floor-addicted music and proof that on the other side of the spectrum there's plenty of chances to create a diverse album putting moods into the centre. Here's hoping all the hard work Nico's put into making this will pay-off. Time will tell since the album's just been released. For me it was worth waiting 4 years.'
9 / 10
Written bySebastian Huhn @ www.reflectionsofdarkness.com