Owen Tromans & The Elders - The Fall of Acre
The music you come to love most often just creeps up on you; arriving unannounced and unheralded it catches you unawares and seizes the moment. The Fall of Acre arrived on my doormat last week and has already pierced my skin so many times I’m stood here like St Sebastian, so bear with me while I brush away these arrows and then I shall explain to you just how it happened. Please do be careful where you sit, that might just be blood.
I've never crossed his path before but Owen Tromans, the man behind this album, is no stranger to the parish having been once of Peel faves San Lorenzo before embarking upon a solo career which has seen him in demand from Sonic Youth, REM and Mercury Rev. That’s some list of admirers and, if I had a band I’d want him on my records too. Tromans is a storyteller and he’s refreshingly direct, the music ranging from shoegazer rock through to sea shanties. His subject matter is dark, laced with a casketfull of gothic imagery, including that of the sinister black raven on the cover. Thematically he’s ploughing a similar furrow to Nick Cave only there's no place here for the OTT theatrics upon which Cave often relies.
There’s a loose concept holding the album together and listeners that are familiar with Troman’s earlier work will be able to pick up a narrative which follows the story of Acre, the leader of a sinister cult who dwells in the ‘House of the Magicks’. Along the way we also cross paths with the doomed crew of The Raven before finally encountering Death himself. There’s no hippy drippy mystic delivery to ruin the mood though and ‘The Bad One’ resembles nothing so much as Spacemen 3 at their focused best, while ‘Coast’, like the work of Jesse Malin, takes the spirit of Strummer and juxtaposes that with the sound of Guided By Voices. If you are not into concept albums then don’t cut and run now as the music speaks for itself and each song can easily stand its own ground.
This is a serious, compelling piece of work from an unheralded talent. This is where the heralding begins.