This is not a record for anyone who feels content and complete with life. This is a record for those that feel like they have lost everything, but are searching for something. This is a record for those who fight even though they are so tired, and sick of everything. And everything. I’m taking back my comment about Lana putting out the best debut record of the year. That’s just a distant memory. I’m not being fickle with this, I just didn’t know Willis was putting out a record this year. So, as he is it is only right that Acousmatic Sorcery is labelled as THE best debut record of the year. By an American artist. You see, 2:54 are set to put out their debut record this year and when that drops I will call it THE best debut record by a UK band. I just love music a hell of a lot, and to call out something as my favourite always gives me a headache and eternal clashing in my heart.
You want the Blues? You want a voice that is so pure and gnarly at times? You’ll find it all in Willis’ debut record. I listen to it, and no part of me can actually believe that this is a debut record. It sounds like something you would find in those town halls that have record stalls up every month. Its one of those records you’d find there, and think “I wish I was around when this came out…how did I live so long without it?!” Then you see it was released in 2012, and you cannot get your heart around it.
He has the pain of Townes Van Zandt and the storytelling and vocals that remind you of a young Tom Waits. It is one of the most vulnerable and spiritual records I’ve heard, and probably will ever hear. You listen to it, and you feel every single word Willis is singing. You feel a bit troubled, you feel a bit weary, you just FEEL. As someone who adores music that conveys raw emotion and takes you to a place that most would run from, I find Acousmatic Sorcery to be so utterly perfect. I never listen to anything to find fault in it. I’m not that kind if person. I listen to music to find certain parts to fall in love with. Whether it be a specific note or the way something is sung- I just look for that one part that makes me glad to still be breathing. I cannot find that in one song here, I find it in every single song.
Every insecurity and trouble you are carrying on your back is being projected in this record for you. You don’t need to hide and cry no more because Willis Earl Beal is singing about it in a way that you wish you could. It’s ONLY his first record, and he’s already got the ability to make you feel like you have heard this before. That you’ve felt this connection before. It is timeless and is just a beautiful work of art.
Sambo Joe From The Rainbow is so stripped back. It is basic and innocent. Some may take this as a diss, but for Willis is a compliment. When something is so stripped back and just sends you off into another world, you know you have found the singer that has captured your heart for the rest of time.
Ghost Robot feels like a ritualistic chant that makes you want to sing along. Make your own drum out of something and beat it until your hands bleed. Sing along until your lungs ache and your mouth is bone dry. The whole record feels like some kind of spiritual experience. You feel like you are being healed from something, anything, everything as you listen to this. You listen to it and you can feel so much. You’ll feel hurt, you’ll feel happy, you’ll feel pissed off (Ghost Robot will make you want to start a protest.) You’ll just get a huge clarification with all your feelings from this record.
The outsiders of the world will fall in love with this, if they know what’s good for them. You want Gaga to preach about how its okay to be a “freak”? Alright then. You trust in the words of a woman who wears a meat dress, and I’ll go with this pure, rugged, delicate, honest young man who is coming from his heart and hitting right into mine.
Acousmatic Sorcery goes beyond being the truth. It is a record that wonderfully falls into NO genre. If you want to go label it, then that’s your call. I refuse to call it anything but wonderful. It ignites your soul and makes you feel so bloody alive. Swing On Low just moves you like someone experiencing something religious would. I know that seeing him live would probably be such a magical moment. You’d leave with your jaw on the ground and tears falling heavily from your eyes because you cannot believe what you have seen.
I’m pretty much heading that way right now listening to this. I feel I have been searching a hell of a long time to find something like this. For the most part it is just Willis and a guitar tugging at your heartstrings and making you feel okay with how you feel. He echoes your fears and frustrations. He sees the world in a way I wish more of us did. Because if we did, the world would feel much more gentle and welcoming. It is okay to be vulnerable and delicate. Id’ rather be how I am than act like a rock to keep people away. No one is always strong. Fall apart kid, but fix yourself by listening to Willis Earl Beal.
Acousmatic Sorcery proves that music is at its best when it is bare and open. The best songs created are like this. My personal favourite track off the record has to be Monotony. I feel every single lyric more than I wish to, but I’m glad I do. Things are tough and crap right now, but this record has given me some much-needed hope. I’ve never felt like I’ve had a home or ever belonged anywhere, I find peace and comfort in music; just like I do in this record. And for these reasons alone, I am calling it out as my favourite debut record of the year.