Valet: Naked Acid

Honey Owens transports the listener to a trippy etherworld of incantatory chants and possessed dirges on her second Valet collection. In her own words, the songs on Naked Acid “were inspired by the Pacific Northwest landscape, semi-conscious dream states, and the idea of one's DNA code being accessed as eternal memory.”

Material like “Babylon 4 Eva” feels like the aural equivalent of an acid trip in its deepest moments where time slows to a crawl and one imagines oneself besieged by disembodied voices and haunted noises. The considerably sunnier “Fire” feels like the morning after, when things start to come back into clearer focus. The echoing wail of Owens' electric guitar pierces the swirling atmospherics of “Kehaar” and there's a trippy instrumental drone too, “Drum Movie,” which Owens colours with hazy vocal murmurs and tribal ambiance. The longest track “Fuck It” starts out as a necrophiliac country blues which is gradually roughed up by guitar scrapes, then turns feverish and speeds up until it comes apart in a Dionysian climax. Though Naked Acid is largely a solo affair, Owens is joined by guests on a small number of tracks: she shares vocals with Adrian Orange on the hallucinatory overture “We Went There” and, ensuring the listener doesn't zone out completely, Mark Evan Burden punctuates three tracks with drumming; believe it or not, “Streets” almost rises to the level of dance music, with Burden's funk groove duking it out with guitar fireworks and Owens' distorted vocalizing. Apparently, she started out with the intention of making a “songs” record but the material dictated otherwise. She's definitely right on that count: though Naked Acid includes seven “songs,” none are Top 40 material but are instead unsparingly uncompromising and uncommercial.

February 2008