Acid Fast feat

Acid Fast – Rabid Moon (album, 2014)

It feels like forever since I wrote about a record, though looking through the archives here on NFI it’s only been two years (a year and a half if you count my review of More Bloody Bad News by the Dauntless Elite). Still, two years is a fucking long time in music and a lot can and has changed in that time. In my best of 2011 round-up, for example, I extolled the self-flagellating virtues of Big Kids, a band whom I’d only discovered earlier that year and had wormed their way so deep into my psyche that I rated Phone Home and the Don’t be a baby EP as my favourite records of the year.

I stand by that, for what it’s worth. All I really have to add is that my awesome girlfriend ordered me a copy of the Hoop Dreams LP from the US and, listening to that record properly, it’s clear that Big Kids didn’t accidentally stumble into success and acclaim with their later records.

As I said, two years is a long time in music. My opinions may not have changed, but the bands sure have: Big Kids have either split up or are on hiatus, and either way don’t seem to be saying. A couple of the guys from that three-piece have moved on to new-but-similar territories with Acid Fast, who have been knocking around since at least 2011 (my google-fu tells me that much).

If you know the sounds of Big Kids, and I sure hope you do after reading me spaff on about them for several hundred words, you’ll dig the familiar vibe of Acid Fast. The most obvious shift in sound from the former band is the addition of female vocals. The formula of thumping mid-pace hooks driven by the rhythm section remains present and correct; although I’m frustratingly unable to tell exactly which individuals feature in both bands I’d guess it’s whoever drums and whoever plays bass. Sorry readers, I’ve never seen either band live. I suck, I know.

Acid Fast’s guitar tone is a thicker, heavier than the sometimes reedy sound that characterised Big Kids; it’s more suited to the work of a four-piece band with two guitarists, of course, as Bid Kids often traded in catchy minimalism and quiet-loud routines. Acid Fast instead recall classic outfits like Jawbreaker and even Superchunk, albeit infused with the simple but addictive licks that for me define what made Big Kids so more-ish.

Acid Fast - Rabid Moon coverLyrically there’s more variety at hand: the addition of a second vocalist and a significant line-up shift is always going to result in new and different subject matter. Some of Acid Fast’s ditties draw on the same confusion, angst and hints of self-loathing that leant records like Phone Home considerable power, but others explore different territory. ‘New Paradigm Mind Reading Co.’? Yeah, what’s in a name.

It is of course deeply unfair of me to spend my entire review of Rabid Moon comparing Acid Fast to Big Kids; it’s a crutch I use as someone out of practice at writing about music and as someone who cannot listen to Rabid Moon without fondly recalling records of recent years from the same Californian town. I sincerely hope that the comparison achieves the desired effect in the end, because I really like Rabid Moon. At root it is similar to something that I love, but the more I listen the more I like it for its differences. I promise that if I should ever write about their next record I will kick away the crutch.

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