Acetone | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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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.

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