Thursday, May 30, 2013

Uncle Acid Returns With Mind Control

Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats
When Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats set out to make a drug-drenched horrific sophomore album, they headed to a dilapidated barn. There, three members produced something as sensational as was it was sinister in Blood Lust, a solid second outing from a psychedelic doom metal band.

With the help of Metal Blade Records, the band has since devolved into "street creeps, burnouts and draft dodgers," making the music more mainstream and expected. They skipped the barn and headed into Chapel Studios to have the full benefit of electrical technology. And it all starts to make you wonder.

Uncle Acid adds another member to produce Mind Control. 

Although rumor has it that the third outing for Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats was big crime horror inspired, it doesn't always feel that way on Mind Control. Despite starting with the cult-cut imagery of brainwashers like Charles Manson and Jim Jones, the album is never scary or much of a novelty.

Many of the songs work, with Poison Apple kicking off the album a few months ago as a single. The track comes across as laid back and fuzzed out hippie music until the lyrics are deciphered from the vocals pushed down under the instruments. Poison Apple is a first person perspective of temptation.

The song is a seduction, with some heavy hooks and and mind-bending melody. The guitar work later wakes the composition up when the song needs it. But the only spooky moment is the chill inspired poetry whispered at the end of the garbage dump video put up by the band.

The whisper isn't on the album, but makes clear the other inspiration for the song. The lyrics are inspired by Manson, the whispered lines were uttered during an interview. His answer is said to imply he was a mind control slave. Uncle Acid isn't the first to allude to Monarch programming in music.

Although the album is a big change in direction, with less bite and more drone, it still has a story at the center of it. This time out, the grisly tale told by Uncle Acid is about a man who has murdered members of his cult and fled to find more weak-minded disciples. The story begins with the opener Mt. Abraxas.

The second half  is hard to reconcile after Blood Lust.

The downside is that the change in sound sends Uncle Acid further away from what caught everyone's attention last year and more toward the retro-metal acts that don't quite measure up to the few finest. In fact, the album becomes increasingly timid as it progresses. The mellow nature is meant to be mind numbing with Devil's Work closing the album on a note of lamenting awareness after some lulls.

Part of that lament for some listeners will be that the band drifted too far away from the hardness that made Blood Lust so powerful. Despite several decent tracks on top, Mind Control doesn't have the power or the energy to sustain itself as a standalone. The best bet is to stick with the opening tracks after Mt. Abraxas and cherry pick the album after Evil Love. Follow The Leader is a contender.

The only motivation to purchase the album would be to try on the band's intent. They wanted to create an atmosphere that recreates the half-aware head of a marionette. (Death Valley Blues isn't about the pop it plays like.) But mostly, it seems, the band would have been better off keeping any strings taut in action as opposed to trying to find the mindset.

Mind Control By Uncle Acid Whispers 4.1 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale. 

Although not on the album, Under The Spell, is also a keeper. It appeared as the B-side to the single Poison Apple and best represents the sound that works best for Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats. As for the album, some of the drone has its moments but the band asks for too much to make it all work. Who knows? Maybe they felt the same way in the studio as everything was over-produced for a barn band.

You can find Mind Control by Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats on Amazon. You can also download the album from iTunes or order the vinyl from Barnes & Noble. Otherwise, if this serves as your introduction to the band, consider Blood Lust first. Or make plans to see them live.
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