A Certain Ratio - ACR Loco Music Album Reviews

A Certain Ratio - ACR Loco Music Album Reviews
On their first new album in over a decade, Manchester’s funkiest post-punk band offer an imperfect distillation of their 40-year legacy, updating their classic sound with nods to contemporary beat-driven music and political strife. 

Since releasing their ninth studio album Mind Made Up in 2008, Manchester mainstays A Certain Ratio have been taking stock of their history and settling themselves comfortably in the present. Last year’s ACR: BOX tracked their evolution from the icy post-punk of their 1979 debut 7" to a rhythmically expansive sound informed by R&B, go-go, and acid house; meanwhile, a series of commissions from artists like Maps and ShadowParty had them reworking contemporary songs according to their own funky, minimalistic vision. 
Apparently fired up by their archival and studio work, the band recorded ACR Loco, their first collection of new songs in 12 years. The album distills A Certain Ratio’s 40-year legacy, potently if imperfectly, while also bending modern beat-heavy music to their collective will. ACR Loco is built on the taut yet fluid rhythms of A Certain Ratio’s core trio—drummer Donald Johnson, bassist/vocalist Jez Kerr, and multi-instrumentalist Martin Moscrop—and spins off variously into motorik disco (“Berlin”), clattering samba-meets-electro (“Taxi Guy”), and gooey jazz-funk (“Get A Grip”). The otherwise tranquil opener “Friends Around Us” slides into a drum’n’bass breakdown for its final minutes, and the low vocal tones and disco bridge of “Supafreak” sound like the band has spent time with Hot Chip’s catalog. 

ACR Loco’s embrace of both modern and present is exemplified on its guest list, which features old Mancunian friends like Smiths drummer Mike Joyce as well as current names like Gabe Gurnsey of Factory Floor. Each of them makes adjustments to assimilate into ACR’s essential chemistry. When Maria Uzor of the synth-pop duo Sink Ya Teeth appears on “Get a Grip,” she eschews the cool remove of her own work for a more combustible approach, in keeping with the music’s roiling energy. 

Singer and ACR touring member Denise Johnson is the only contributor who exerts her own gravitational pull on the trio—as she has since her first appearance on 1990’s acr:mcr, bursting through the baggy funk of “Be What You Wanna Be” with a towering melody. Her earthy tones sell the rather lightweight message of unity on “Family” (“Brothers and sisters/We are family/One world united/Love, peace, harmony”) and provide human counterweight to a robotic vocoder on the silly “Bouncy Bouncy.” Sadly, ACR Loco was the band’s final collaboration with Johnson before her death at 56 in July. She appears on only four tracks on ACR Loco, and makes a deep impression each time.

Several songs seem to address the state of post-Brexit England, the album’s only modern preoccupation that feels awkward or strained. A Certain Ratio have never been the strongest lyricists, but ACR Loco’s calls for togetherness and resistance are especially flimsy. The punky bluntness of a line like “We all need to come together to fight/Fight greed/They’re inventing pain/For short term gain” loses its efficacy when paired with the limber go-go (and goofy title) of “Bouncy Bouncy.” Opener “Friends Around Us” centers on an unsteady proclamation: “We have no idea our meaning without friends around us.” ACR fare better when Kerr is singing to a loved one or, on “Get A Grip,” giving something like a dispatch from a psychedelic trip.

The occasional clumsiness of ACR Loco is easy to forgive in light of the album’s musical pleasures. After a deep dive into their back pages, A Certain Ratio found a powerful formula: paying heed to where they came from while keeping the door open for more all night parties in their future. 
Share on Google Plus

About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
A Certain Ratio - ACR Loco Music Album Reviews A Certain Ratio - ACR Loco Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Monday, October 05, 2020 Rating:

0 comments:

Post a Comment