Acetone | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader


LA's Acetone have calmed down considerably the churning cool-psych wail that permeated their impressive 1993 debut, Cindy. In fact, paired with last year's I Guess I Would--a breezy, laid-back EP of country and folk covers with a title exemplifying the trio's musical tentativeness--the new If You Only Knew sometimes seems to be the work of an altogether different band. While the controlled outbursts of guitar--which served as effective climaxes for the brilliantly dynamic tunes--were often linked by softly ambling passages, the band has since made these quiet parts its mantra. With the exception of the Neil Young-ish overdrive exhibited on "The Final Say," Acetone have jettisoned their pedal-hopped range and transformed their sound into a pin-drop quietude. Drummer Steve Hadley's light touch, bassist Richie Lee's gentle, almost cooing vocals, and the sweet harmonizing of guitarist Mark Lightcap extract a rarefied beauty from the new minimalism. They still draw on older material, and a set I saw this spring proved that they could handle the softness live. Thursday, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 276-3600. PETER MARGASAK

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/William Howard.

Get our free weekly Early Warnings newsletter 💌

It’s Chicago’s essential months-ahead music calendar straight to your inbox.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Popular Stories