In the grab-bag that is today’s American techno scene, very few bands appeal to true techno fans and mainstream audiences, alike. Lords of Acid has managed to bridge this gap by expanding into new areas with an innovative mix of techno and a hard-rock sound.
Lords of Acid’s latest album, Farstucker (Antler Subway Records) released on Feb. 27, stays as true to its lecherous image as fans can expect. Lords of Acid has maintained only a few consistent features throughout its long career – an attribute that helps keep the band’s material fresh.
Lords of Acid has been on the scene since 1988, when the single “I Sit on Acid” hit the club scene. In the past 13 years the band has released 17 records that have met both critical and popular praise.
But Lords of Acid does not seem like a band that would receive widespread praise, or even acceptance, due to its often-offensive lyrics and generally hedonistic tone. The songs are almost always sexually explicit, and, true to form, band members refuse to tone down their style for the sake of radio play or wider appeal. When raunchy lyrics combine with the hard, dark sound of industrial music, censors and moralists take up their arms.
People often complain that Lords of Acid tracks are too repetitive, that the band has become dependent on cheesy samples and beats that rarely, if ever, go anywhere. But as in all dance music, an element of repetition is necessary – that’s how the genre works. Unfortunately, several tracks seem to rely on one or two samples that, though fun and catchy, are not strong enough to carry an entire song. Lords of Acid disappointingly uses sounds from groups like Skinny Puppy and Front 242, but fails to achieve the same level of innovation.
Although these problems plague the group at times on its newest album, Farstucker remains a relatively solid album. The band brings together multiple genres of music, from techno to industrial to rock, and combines them in an incredibly catchy album.
There is no way to categorize this disk as any one genre or type of music, as it draws samples, sounds and influence from everywhere. The album is nothing if not diverse, ranging from the upbeat and stomping “Feed My Hungry Soul” to the dark and melodic “Pain and Pleasure Concerto.” Lords of Acid covers almost every brand of modern dance music, from industrial to pop.
Although the diverse range of music makes for an interesting album, it also leaves the listener a little unfulfilled. At some points, the band seems to try too hard to combine as many genres as possible, making it difficult to pinpoint one theme that carries throughout the album. The band is unable to truly explore new genres while holding onto its original style. Struggling to chart new terrain, the group is held back by its own past.
The band’s lyrical focus -wanton, hedonistic sex- overshadows the music. But pushing the boundaries of good taste is nothing new for a band with past hits such as “Show Me Your Pussy” and “I Must Increase My Bust.”
For true Lords of Acid fans, the new release will likely meet expectations. It is fast, fun and irreverent. Many of the tracks bring Lords of Acid back to its dance roots with a complex and polished techno feel. But more experimental tracks – especially forays into the world of pop – may annoy loyal listeners.
Farstucker is deceptively mainstream, offering familiar techno beats and sounds that fit perfectly with a rave-oriented band. On the other hand, some tracks come off as immature industrial, sounding like a hornier version of Marilyn Manson.
Farstucker is in stores now