Released: 2005, Small Stone Records
Despite having roots that stretch back to 1993, San Francisco’s Acid King remains a largely unknown quantity in the rock world. Acid King is the brainchild of Lori S. who wanted to create a band that had “a very large and low end sound”. Judging by the output put to plastic on III, she and her mates have succeeded in that goal.
Acid King’s play within the fuzzy, 70s stoner rock parameters set down 30 years ago, and damn all those who want change. Featuring Lori’s slightly irritating Courtney Love-esque vocal moans, the band creates a droning crush that rumbles along like many of their contemporaries. I’m thinking buzzsaw machines such as Bottom and Sons of Otis. Like them, Acid King are able to lock into a groovy riff and pound it into dust, during the cool “2 Wheel Nation” for example. When the band sticks to this simple formula, things are great.
Unfortunately, Acid King falls into the same trap that many similar bands do: boring repetition in the name of atmosphere. Too many songs on III are filled with plodding riffs that go nowhere, further damaged by Lori’s insistence on moaning, rather than singing. Seriously Lori, emote a little, it won’t kill you! As well, the album is cut down at the knees by an oddly powerless production. When I listen to bands like this, I want to be knocked over by the wall of sound they create, III barely nudges me.
If you’re into the slow, droning style of stoner rock, you’ll enjoy III. Just be aware that there are other bands out there that do this same thing, only better.