By Jordan Mooney.
Indie Acoustic albums have never quite sat well with me; I’m far more in the punky side of things, and, in my experience (thank you email inbox), they all too often end up sounding irritatingly pretentious, crooning about lost love so consistently that it’s awfully tempting to provide a pigeonhole for ‘fop-haired hipsters who didn’t get laid’.
Thankfully, of course, Cat on the Wall also benefits from a mass of connections with unusual and interesting sources of music – and when Anti Pop Records, one of the finest repositories for sounds against the norm, sent over Carl Moorcroft’s acoustic masterwork On The Road, my interest was piqued. (That’s a lot rarer than you may think…)
Drawing from Liverpool’s punk heritage, Carl’s first love is very clearly based in the grungy, rebellious, loud and outspoken. He’s effectively stepped out of his own experiences in his local scene and distilled the product of it all into a simple, but incredibly palatable, liquor of acoustic riffs and loud, undisciplined vocal.
Unlike most acoustic acts that choose to reign in a somewhat plodding and sluggish realm, Carl chooses to make what sounds almost like a group of Punk bedroom demos, polished up and presented with every bit of improvisation, frustration and talent still on the plate.
There’s still a clear sense of riff, a clear sense of chanting, shouting, rebellion, et al, but it’s cleared up, simplified, uncluttered and works on making a firm connection between only the listener and musician. It’s very much himself laid out for the world to witness; as to what you bring in return is, of course, another story entirely.
While I would hesitate to say it’s going to be a particularly essential record for lovers of punk alone, or acoustic in the same vein, it’ll certainly provide an interesting diversion and experiment for both. To see one of the most vicious genres of music link up with one of the softest is a delight – it challenges the idea of what we categorise music ‘as’, and forces both sides of the party to listen.
What the results will be for these parties I’m unsure – but on this end, it sounds fantastic.
In the end, both acoustic and punk are about showing very different types of emotion; they have their similarities, and it’s these that stop the record feeling too jarring and more like a natural – albeit very unusual – step in the journey of the artist.
Carl’s evidently got a great understanding of all of these; and he’s utilising it beautifully. If you’re a fan of acoustic records, punk records, grunge records or folk records, you should check this out in equal measure. Some of you will hate it, some will love it, and, for many of you, it could provide a gateway into a far vaster collection of genres you had never even considered.
Check it out!
On The Road is set for release on August the 5th via Antipop Records.