Valet - Naked Acid

Dan Round 28/02/2008

“Naked Acid” is the second mini-album by Portland's Honey Owens, aka Valet. Not a record to be judged quickly, and certainly not one to throw some shapes to, “Naked Acid” is a slow-burning chill out. Delicate and ethereal, the album features plenty of intense soundscapes and odd textures.

Starting as most of the seven songs do, with a lengthy and subtle introduction, opener “We went there” finally gets going with a ghost-like twin vocal and squeaky instruments. The following “Drum Maine” however really sets the scene with brooding bass and darkly whispering voices, clocking in at 7 minutes 30 seconds. “Kehaar”, with its sequenced riff is the most memorable (surely not instant!?) track and Owens' elegant vocal drifts along passively. Subsequent tracks repeat the by now well established formulae; “Fuck it” boasts distorted and glitchy background noises which complement the smooth guitars and vocals, while “Babylon 4 eva” and the frantic beating of “Streets” continue in a similar vain. The penultimate “Fire”, however, is somewhat of a revelation - relying less upon electronics, Owens' vocal is liberated. Accompanied throughout the song by a plucked guitar alone, Owen sounds freer and more natural. She never soars, allowing the calm to continue, while the instrumental simplicity is matched only by lyrical simplicity - “fire keeps me real warm” Owen states subdued.

“Naked Acid” is at times temperamental, perhaps too busy and layered, with a couple of songs being taken hostage by overly keen electronics and effects. However, Valet triumphs in fitting together beats, bleeps, noises and towering harmony in a unique manner. As a piece of ambient cool, “Naked Acid” is a success.