Photo and story by Wesley McIntyre / Contributing writer
Once again, The Acorn People have outdone themselves with their newest album, “Way Out.”
The Acorn People are a local rock and roll band, and this is their first album since their debut, “Secrets,” released three years ago.
The album features everything that people love about The Acorn People: a punk attitude, strong musicianship, bluesy guitar solos, and a powerful, female voice, while also showing their maturation.
There’s no doubt about it: The Acorn People’s music is meant to be played live, and it’s best played live. When listening to the album, whether in your car, at home, or at work, you can easily fall into the music and picture yourself in a bar in the 1970s, watching The Acorn People power through a set.
However, even though the album may be best played live, the production is outstanding, and it offers an experience that sets the album apart from their shows.
Perhaps the best example of how the album differs from the live shows is how the voice of Grace Jermusyk, the lead singer, is expressed.
As if her voice couldn’t get any more powerful or awe-inspiring, several tracks have as many as two or three vocal tracks harmonizing over each other. This is something you can’t get at a live show.
Although two of the tracks, “Dried Up” and “Can’t Get Close Enough” were initially released on “Secrets,” the remastered versions are tremendously intense, and help fill out the album.
Both tracks are solid proof that Jermusyk’s voice can rival that of Stevie Nicks and Joan Jett, and the music can rival that of Black Sabbath.
If “Dried Up” wasn’t heavy enough, the follow up track, “New Moon,” features a ton of metal influences. Heavy guitar riffs, phaser-effects on the guitar, and moshable riffs make this track a killer.
The outro to “New Moon” is one of the highlights of the entire album, where Jermusyk nearly loses her voice, lead guitarist Kris Cagle shreds away at a fired-up, bluesy solo, and the entire band plays as one.
“New Moon” is just outrageously heavy in the best way, and it’s well balanced out with the brighter song “Gender =/= Genre.”
It’s almost hard to believe that Jermusyk is the vocalist on both tracks, and her ability to switch between so many tones of singing is impressive.
The build-up towards the end of “Gender =/= Genre” as Jermusyk sings “I do what I wanna, when I wanna do” is another one of the finer moments of the album, showing the band’s great musicianship and rebellious attitude, just with a different tone.
Continuing the more poppy tone is “Go With You,” offering a more new-age feel to the album.
The outro of “Go With You,” with the singable, repeated lyrics, “I don’t wanna go there, but I wanna be there, I wanna go with you,” and the rhythmic claps make for a great inclusion of the audience at live shows.
One of The Acorn People’s strongest suits is outros. They have a real knack for nailing the ending. “Can’t Get Close Enough,” layers several of Jermusyk’s vocal tracks and mixes them with Cagle’s bluesiest solo on the album, making it one of the most powerful outros I’ve heard in a while.
Aside from their outros, their intros are equally impressive at times. The introduction to “Way Out” is another one of the heavier moments of the album, with Quinten Thornten pounding away at the drum kit and Brendan Herr plucks away at his somewhat grungy bass line that extends through the verse.
The album concludes with the epic “Say You’ll Stay,” and everything on the track, from the immensely adagio intro, to the galloping drums when the song starts to pick up, to – once again – Jermusyk’s magnificent vocal layering towards the end, makes this track an incredible outro to the album.
As I’ve said before: The Acorn People have outdone themselves. “Secrets” was an enjoyable, hard-hitting album, and “Way Out” was all of that with better production, musicianship, and songwriting.
Do yourself a favor and stream the album on Spotify, buy it on iTunes, and see The Acorn People at their next shows.