2006 (InsideOut Music)
The Swedish A.C.T with its sparkling art rock is a band after my own heart. I once labeled the quintet as a bunch of young dogs and that’s how I’ve always seen the band, regardless of age or haircut. Listening to 2006’s “Silence”, their fourth studio album, I hear so much to rave about, I have to tell you.
As for their style, the band’s art rock has a neo-progressive vibe and is interspersed with catchy hard rock riffs. There is a lot of room for the touching high vocals and also the wide choirs often find their way to the listener. The keyboard playing always has something frivolous in it and it is therefore special wherever the band sounds cheerful and melancholic at the same time.
The line-up of the band has remained almost the same over the years, only a few changes regarding the drummer took place. As a result a close collective can be heard and not only in terms of ensemble playing, the compositions and arrangements are also solidly put together. The album contains 19 tracks which seems more than it is. For example, the first ten songs are all nice, concise and song-like, while the following nine tracks are part of the epic Consequences. As the album progresses, a lot of virtuosity emerges.
Yet having a brilliant playing technique does not automatically mean the compositions are perfectly okay. Well, that is not the case for A.C.T where excellent playing and a compositional richness in any area are constantly to be heard. The album is a candy jar full of variety. Tap it old man.
To begin with, the sights go first on the individual numbers. Opener Truth Is Pain is an exuberant track with a short guitar solo, a flashy start. Puppeteers is the most catchy song on the album, propelled by tight drums and adorned with a beautiful vocal line, set in the glowing choirs all around. With the mid-tempo song This Wonderful World, A.C.T delivers one of the most beautiful songs I know. It is unique in style with its bombardon rhythm. In Out Of Ideas the band comes up with a reggae-tinged piece and although I have zero interest in this genre, they still managed to fascinate me. The ease the band hops from passage to passage is unbelievable. You suddenly find yourself in the 80s, beautiful bass work, typical keyboard playing and a jazzy guitar solo. Hope starts with a staccato riff towards prog metal. How brilliant? The solo, with its beautiful collaboration between guitar and keyboards, also comes from a genius mind. One of my favorite tracks on the album is No Longer Touching Ground, simply because the vocal melody is so appealing to me. I have a thing for those expressive high singers. The comparison with Robby Valentine is therefore hard to suppress. And if you say Robby Valentine, the name Freddie Mercury has also fallen quickly. The last of the first ten songs would therefore not have been out of place on an old Queen record.
On to the epic. Although Consequences with its nine subtracks lasts 22:39, it is more of a whole than it initially appears. Fragmentary it is, but that’s just part of A.C.T, don’t moan. Okay, the band immediately misleads you with the beautiful theme of the epic. Isn’t this just All Out Of Love by Air Supply? Does not matter. The theme is relieved by a nice piece of prog metal, followed by a quiet piece called Introduction. My Ying and Yang are now hanging from the ceiling but we keep on smiling. After that it’s all great with the icing on the cake being the opening theme on repeat over which a great guitar solo is played.
The album also contains a multimedia section that I can’t, don’t want and don’t need to watch. The music itself on “Silence” is enough for me.
© Dick van der Heijde 2022