AC Berkheimer - Beyond The Equation of State

It’s certainly their best balanced record too, so smooth that it engages your subconscious a LONG time before the rest of your brain catches up. I bet you that you only notice it’s actually on when Kissing The Surface starts.

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AC Berkheimer have always made good records, and this is definitely their best to date. It’s not a long record, twenty odd minutes in total, but they seem to have distilled the essentials into the 8 songs very well indeed. It’s almost as if they looked to kick out the crap, and try to find out what makes them tick. You see, on previous LPs (for me at any rate) they always seemed to have songs that could be easily pigeonholed and seemed to be there just to make up numbers.

And somehow it feels a very familiar record, as if (or maybe because) their music has finally got to the point some of us were willing it to get to. Equation of State also manages to drag the presence and promise of their live shows into focus; they have this pastoral, gothic vibe that was previously only fleetingly glimpsed. Now, with songs like Beyond The Equation of State, the Valerie and Her Week of Wonders feel that they always had is pushed to the fore, tessellate, mysterious, almost tragic. The opener My Love, It’s Not The Same is gone almost before you can take it in, akin to seeing an unusually pretty girl going by in a bus. And Do You uses their adeptness at conjuring up a bedsit soliloquy to great effect.

It’s certainly their best balanced record too, so smooth that it engages your subconscious a LONG time before the rest of your brain catches up. I bet you that you only notice it’s actually on when Kissing The Surface starts. It’s all akin to a dream. Talking of things delicate and precise, Cat is a finely woven song, sometimes drifting off into BSP territory (Hamilton balladry not Yan bombast) and you need to stick in there for Platform, where Gwen’s “Ophelia of Rock”  persona takes hold and casts a whole set of spells. It also sounds like Pale Saints trying to be gentle... Actually they are the feminine side to Pale Saints, I wonder how far I can get with that conceit? Probably nowhere, but you know, these connections are only thrown up by adventurers crossing the same cosmic landscape. Heads, in other words, and AC Berkheimer are certainly becoming Heads.

 There’s the odd moment when eyebrows are raised; the rigorous Half Ten initially sounds like an offering from the dreaded Editors, but being AC Berkheimer they keep everything tasteful and avoid any mines.  Undoubted highlight for me is last track Backwards which is a sprightly rock track, brimful of poise and grace.

Fine fucking record, pop pickers.