CD Review-Chris Acker-Clean Teeth EP

Right off the bat, Chris Acker’s Clean Teeth EP gives us a very strong impression – the first song is an extremely thinly-veiled sex metaphor pretty much the whole way through. Obviously intentional, it is a weird way to get introduced to an album. Especially because the song offers nothing musically unique from the others, so I was always expecting the same sarcastic, lyrically-driven joke-folk. And that’s what I got.

The lyrical content and vocal delivery are steady, sometimes to the point of repetitive, but they’re well-conducted and feature, at times, clever wordplay mixed and fluid storytelling. And that’s the weird thing about it, that sometimes Acker plays something really cool and sings a creative and inspired lyric in a soulful voice and you forget about the parts that take the listener out of the experience with too-explicit lyrics (not that I’m a prude, I wouldn’t want to hear a description of making ice cream that went into that much detail.)

The guitar playing is consistent and appropriate, actually a surprisingly strong suit of the album. Not that Chris shreds or anything, but the playing is the saving grace on these songs. The only one that might be an exception to that might be track four, “Widowed One.” It’s a great song and he takes it seriously. It’s confidently crafted and the lyrics are beautiful. I don’t know how meaningful they are all together, but they sound beautiful and each line sounds profound by itself.

I’m terribly conflicted. I hated this album at first but by “Widowed One” I was really enjoying it. And then the last track, “Much to Say About Nothing,” he just rambles about drinking and does the circular, forced rhyming thing over a bouncy guitar. The guy can play, and even this song has some fun and clever lyrics, and I’d like if he took his music seriously more often, if not all the time.