Sound — 9
Acid King formed in 1993 by Lori S., Joey Osbourne and Peter Lewis. Peter Lewis was replaced on bass in 1996, and then several lineup changes for bass occurred with Mark Lamb currently covering bass duties for the past 9 years. While "Middle of Nowhere, Centre of Everywehre" is only the band's fourth full-length studio release, they have also released several EP's and split albums. That isn't to say that this is a prolific band, because this will be their first new music released in 10 years. To explain the sound of the new album, Lori has said "Everything still feels like riding a motorcycle on Quaaludes, but things have expanded." Lori has also stated in the few interviews that she has granted recently that the album was born from jamming with the band in their practice space, in a very organic manner. The album contains 8 tracks and clocks in at approximately 54 minutes.
The album opens up with the track, "Intro," which is made up of heavy (so heavy) instrumental riffing, and really just serves the purpose of preparing your audio palette for the rest of the album. The track, being under four minutes, is the second shortest track on the album (next to "Outro," which clocks in at under three minutes). "Silent Pictures" is the second track on the album, and it is made up of an interesting groove going on between the drums and bass and a fuzzed out guitar riff worthy of the band's name that somehow makes me think of H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu as I listen. "Coming Down From Outer Space" is so heavily fuzzed that for a second before my ears adjust the intro sounds like a loud fuzzed out amp just blaring white noise, but the down-tuned riffing clarifies as I listen. "Laser Headlights" is another track that is really heavy with groove, and is otherwise built on infectious riffing. Lori's screams on this track are really haunting, and the way the vocals are mixed to use surround sound is pretty phenomenal on this track. "Red River" is as close as Acid King has come to releasing a single on this album, though if you are even remotely familiar with the band you'll understand that their closest to releasing a single is nothing at all like a single, but it was released ahead of the album release and serves to exemplify the sound of the album. Heavy riffing and a sense of impending doom make up he heart of "Red River." "Infinite Skies" is somewhere in the realm of a revved up motorcycle engine, a chain saw, or the band Sunn O))) as far as the overall sound of this one goes. It is like a chill out track that is also a little scary. Lori has a great haunting thing going on with her vocals on this one. "Centre of Everywhere" uses a weird delayed riff through a lot of the track, which heavily processed vocals from Lori. This is definitely the most haunting track from the album, for me personally. The album closes out with the track, "Outro," which opens up a little bit like some freeform jazz drumming, but quickly goes to some instrumental fuzzy riffing that does a great job of book-ending the album.
Lyrics — 8
Lori S. is the sole vocalist and lyricist for Acid King since the band was founded, and she has been a large part in defining the overall sound even though her lyrics are fairly sparse. Lori's vocals are often heavily drenched in reverb and have an overall moody and dark vibe to them. There is a quality to Lori's vocals like she's calling out from some weird netherworld straight out of an '80s B-stock horror movie. As a sample of the lyrics, first, here are some from the track "Silent Pictures": "Silent pictures/ Come to life/ Coming at me as I follow the lines/ Thru my veins, to my eyes/ Coming at me while the lines meet the sky." Another example from "Centre of Everywhere": "Standing here/ Looking out/ Far away from/ From the clouds/ All alone/ In the crowd/ They may say nothing to be found/ In the center of everywhere." I really think that for what Acid King does, that Lori is the ideal vocalist, and her lyrics are ideal for the genre. I have absolutely zero to complain about.
Overall Impression — 8
I was surprised to hear about a new Acid King album as I didn't even know they were recording anything new until "Red River" was released digitally. I've been fairly impressed with the album overall, and if anything it has definitely turned up the creepy factor by several notches from their previous releases. While they have always had a very strong riff-centric sound with a lot of fuzz, not they seem to also be disquieting, both musically and lyrically, in a way they haven't been (at least to my ears) on past releases. My favorite tracks on the album are "Centre of Everywhere," "Silent Pictures" and "Coming Down From Outer Space."