The Acorn – Glory Hope Mountain

The Acorn
Glory Hope Mountain

“Post-rock” has been defined as many things, from a mixture of rock and classical music to “rock instrumentation used for non-rock purposes.” It’s been used to describe any number of acts who could just as easily be filed under a different genre or description, but the term marches on as a way to explain the unexplainable for simple-minded listeners.

So I guess, by the above definition, The Acorn could be described as “post-folk.”

For example, upon initial listen, the folk instrumentation is prevalent, but the song structures are anything but. Glory Hope Mountain moves everywhere from ambient and repetitive to dense “Graceland”-style rhythms. It is the epitome of folk instrumentation for non-folk purposes.

However, that’s all bullshit. What The Acorn is doing here, just like a band like Godspeed! You Black Emperor did for rock, is pushing folk music to new boundaries. It forces the traditional folk guitar and vocals into places it never usually visits.

For example, on “Crooked Legs,” the band takes the song and surrounds it with dense percussion, horns, and a pointed clean guitar lead, keeping the listener on their toes for the entire song. The melody of the song comes through, but it somehow stays light, providing a medium for the surrounding instruments, which is what a song like this should do.

The Acorn’s success may lie in their fundamental ability to write a good tune, but they don’t stop challenging you there. You might find a place to settle inside a standard folk album, but with songs like these, you never know what’s coming around the corner. It’s a delicate balance, but when it’s mastered, it produces a damn fine album.

So maybe The Acorn is “post-folk.” Maybe they’re folk pushed to a new level. Maybe they’re giant space creatures trying to lull us into a false sense of security before the hostile takeover. Who knows or cares. With all this post-this and post-that, a lot of critics and listeners are forgetting the most important part of music; is it good? And the Acorn is fucking good.