Acetone | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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On its 1993 debut, Cindy (Vernon Yard), Acetone decorated a Velvetsy foundation with icy psychedelia, chunks of garage noise, and a sprinkling of Isaac Hayes guitar. But apparently the LA trio found its own concoction unsatisfying, because over subsequent albums, it radically changed the recipe. In fact, its recently released, eponymously titled third album, on Neil Young's vanity label, Vapor, is the musical equivalent of a whispered conversation, a collection of fuzzy pop tunes so elongated that the melodies and chord progressions practically dissipate as they're played. That's not to say Acetone's music isn't memorable; it's just not particularly palpable. The fluid, pulsing bass lines of Richie Lee serve as a skeleton for guitarist Mark Lightcap to stretch a thin skin over, with his light, fragile strumming and chord-changing squeaks. The pair's shy vocals are equally complementary, and Steve Hadley's easygoing drumming caresses the other sounds more than it propels them. If you're looking for action this probably won't do it for you, but Acetone's trancey minimalism makes good sense on this bill with the more extrovertedly hypnotic Spiritualized. And as with the headliners, Acetone's music gets a substantial energy boost when performed live. Thursday, November 20, 9 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 773-549-0203. PETER MARGASAK

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Darcy Henley.

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