Fri, Dec 14, 2012.
Halifax's Acres and Acres present a second disc of laid back and lush chamber-folk, and a little chamber-country for your pleasure. The main men here are songwriters David Scholten and Kris Pope, the latter originally from Belleisle Creek, NB, while regular bass man Ian Sherwood is from nearby Norton. Half the eight songs here have a rich string section added in to dreamscape melodies, while the remaining numbers get more of a groove on. bolstered by pedal steel and some front-porch acoustic charm. And Pope's steel even finds its way into the string quartet numbers, another layer of mood.
So it's a tale of two bands, but they exist well together. Let's Go Home has a funky, slow, reggae bass line, but is straight from the rural Maritimes, a happy track celebrating nature, family and love, a dad and daughter out in the winter weather, ready to return to waiting Mom, "I could never love another the way I love your mother." Shake The Moon is more sleepy country, echo on the steel as it reaches for starry, high-pitched notes, with twangy guitar giving it just a tiny, rough edge, not enough to wake the neighbours.
Scholten and Pope's vocals are stirring and graceful throughout, especially effective with the quartets. Opener Truth And Sky has a beautiful arrangement that starts with just voice and an acoustic plucking the chords, before the steel, strings and angelic ooh's join in, and the singing here is quite gorgeous, a lonely melody about walking in the cold at night. Nature shows up several times, as does mortality, loneliness, outdoors, ice, night-time, it's moody but never morose, largely due to the haunting but appealing quality of all the instruments and voices. This will be a good one to warm your heart and toes with on January nights.
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Bob Mersereau has been covering music, and the East Coast Music Scene since 1985 for CBC. He's a veteran scene-maker at the ECMA's, knows where the best shows and right parties are happening, and more importantly, has survived to tell the tales. His weekly East Coast music column is heard on Shift on Radio 1 in New Brunswick each Wednesday at 4'45. He's also the author of two national best-selling books, The Top 100 Canadian Albums (2007) and The Top 100 Canadian Singles (2010).