Released: 2015, Svart Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
When your album cover features a wizard riding a tiger across the moon, you know you’re in for a good time. After 10 years of wandering in the wilderness, San Francisco doom trio Acid King have resurfaced with a new album – MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, CENTER OF EVERYTHING. True to form, it’s another spacy trip full of hazy stoner riffs and open ended songwriting; it doesn’t do much to further the band’s appeal, but it sure doesn’t hurt it, either.
The typical structure to an Acid King tune starts with a slow burning riff that builds with repetition until it rattles in your psyche, matched against Lori S’s siren wail, which tends to mimic the instrument lines. On paper it’s a deceptively simplified combination, but coming out of your speakers, it’s an entirely different experience. Moments like “Silent Pictures” and “Laser Headlights” are almost trance inducing, letting the song guide the band’s performance instead of vice versa. But the band really excels when there’s some definition in the tracks; “Coming Down From Outer Space” is the first to show some teeth, and “Center of Everything” explores some welcomed psychedelic jams in between percussive crashing and low end rumbling.
Independently the tunes work well enough, but listening to the album in a single sitting, things tend to blur together and it’s easy to get lost quickly. It’s part of the opportunity cost of the band’s presentation, I suppose, but I found myself on more than one occasion wondering if I was listening to the same song again. That’s not intended to dismiss the band or the album, but y’know, buyer beware. There are a lot of great bands that have adopted the Acid King formula during their absence, and are making some great, original music within that format (Mount Salem, Witch Mountain, etc.). At the end of the day, if you’re a fan of this brand of doom or are just looking for some familiar flavors, MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, CENTER OF EVERYTHING is still worth checking out. But if your attention span tends to run short, you’ll probably want to skip this one.