Acrylics is the musical partnership of Molly Shea and Jason Klauber. The pair, who married in 2014, has been making music together for over a decade. Acrylics’ second full-length album DADA minor is due for release this September. The distinctive approach toward song craft that earned 2011’s Lives and Treasure and 2009’s All of the Fire EP critical acclaim is further refined here. The hooks are wetter, wilder, weirder, more varied and well... hookier. Broadening their creative scope lyrically, sonically and structurally, Acrylics have put together a set of melodies that will catch your ear and won't let go.
DADA minor, birthed out of an extremely fertile creative period for Shea and Klauber, was recorded over the course of three years in several studios and apartments across New York City as well as homes in the Poconos and Catskills Mountains. The final sessions were completed in SOHO’s sadly defunct Magic Shop one day after David Bowie’s last known session. Shea and Klauber partnered with close associates Eric Gorman (Kuroma, Au Revoir Simone) and Josh Ascalon (Neon Indian, Twin Shadow) to record the project. Frequent collaborators Sam Mason (Willy Mason), Will Berman (MGMT), Joaquin Cotler (Chickentown), James Richardson (MGMT), Danny Meyer (Chairlift, Julia Holter), Dave Eggar (Coldplay), and Patrick Wimberly (Chairlift, Blood Orange, Solange Knowles) also made key contributions to the fabric of the album.
In a singles driven world, Shea and Klauber remain devotees of old-school song craft and the long playing album. Every song must be recognizable using only a simple arrangement of voice accompanied by acoustic guitar or piano. Once this basic DNA is established, a song can be dressed up, manipulated and distorted without losing its identity. Acrylics write simple melodies and chord structures and make them unique by employing such techniques as harmonic displacement, round form, and the slow building of supportive textures. Comparable to blades on a motorboat, the gyroscopic "round form" heard on songs such as “One In Seven”, "Sunset Peach” and "Battersea Blues" creates an off-balance effect but helps to constantly propel the composition forward, disorienting and delighting the ear. Each song generates an orbital path around its own solar system. Songs such as “Please Police Me” make use of collage as Acrylics reassemble jigsaw pieces into new combinations.
DADA minor is a textured work incorporating melodies and soundscapes that evoke Shea and Klauber's deep interest in the history of recorded music. The album evokes film scores old and not-so-old (Jack Niezche’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Bernard Hermann, Morricone, Wendy Carlos), unbridled sun-drunk, saturated psychedelia in guitar work and use of reverb (mid period Beatles, Sly Stones’s There’s a Riot Goin’ On), the Motorik beat and repetitive spells of German kosmische/krautrock and ambient/experimental music of the late 60’s and 70’s (Can, Neu, Eno, Cluster, Harold Budd, Reich, Riley, Hassell, Ashra), acerbic/sardonic/cynical proto punk music of their native New York, as well as rawer versions found in Detroit and other choice spots along the east coast (Voidoids, Stooges, Johnny Thunders, The Modern Lovers, Televsion Personalities, The Cars, Suicide) and similar versions found within the commonwealth (Young Marble Giants, Wire, The Clean, Marc Bolan, The Go-Betweens, Cocteau Twins). Indirect spiritual influence can be found in the free experimentation of Pharoah Sanders, Don Cherry/ Ornette Coleman/Alice Coltrane and composers such as Erik Satie, Claude Debussey, Pauline Oliveros, John Cage, Morton Feldman, Josquin Des Pres and Hildegard von Bingen as well as ragas from South Asian subcontinent, kalimba music and electronic music of Sunny Ade and Francis Bebey from West Africa and drones found in the old Christian, Jewish cantorial, Tibetan Buddhist and Sufi Muslim traditions. Acrylics also draw inspiration from the masterful pop work of Paul McCartney (I and II), Prince, Madonna, Julee Cruise, and Bob Dylan.
DADA minor’s release coincides with the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Dada movement in Zurich, 1916. Dada has never died. Many of its basic tenets have lived on in surrealist, pop, situationist, punk and post-modern movements and attitudes. Dada is subversive in the way that a clown is. It hurls water balloons and cream pies in the face of authority and artifice. Dada is like laughing and weeping at the same time. DADA minor explores lyrical themes of money and power, war, self-destruction, personal anger and finding meaning in a world of chaos using the absurd as a weapon. Up against global terror, the massive mind-numbing effect of hand held devices, social media, the suffocating pressure of big enterprise and shifting aims of media, we are under constant surveillance and being pieced into place by data miners. Art, love and laughter are the only tonics and our only defense. DADA minor humbly casts a small stone in the direction of the behemoth. Let 'er rip.