TOURNIQUET has always fancied performing acoustic versions of their songs and “Acoustic Archives” is tangible proof of this. The selections, fortunately, range from their 1991 sophomore effort “Psycho Surgery” to 1997’s “Crawl To China.” In addition, the listener is lucky to receive a new, non-acoustic track in “Trivializing The Momentous, Complicating The Obvious,” which shines with intensity and musical prowess.
Now, this particular album was self-released on the band’s own label, which means that it’s intended to be a treat for fans. So, it’s obviously a special release that can’t begin to compete with their studio outings. “Viento Borrascoso (Devastating Wind)” is an instrumental and the guitars sound great here. However, I found myself mourning over the loss of Kirkpatrick’s incredible drumming that permeates the electric version. Instead, the drummer utilizes bongos. Luke Easter’s vocals are much smoother when meshed with acoustic instrumentation – as evidenced by “Vanishing Lessons.” Normally, Easter adopts a gravelly delivery that becomes grating soon after exposure. Overall, it’s enjoyable to hear minute additions to songs such as “Phantom Limb,” which originally appeared on 1993’s “Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance.”
Nevertheless, I hated the inane “Bats” when it manifested itself on “Crawl To China,” and I despise it here as well. As a TOURNIQUET fan, I do take some issue with the song selections. I mean, compositions like “Heads I Win, Tails You Lose” and “Twilight” were softer than normal when they were coined, so why do we need them on this release? And, I think “Acoustic Archives” was begging to be elongated. The last track, though, is a welcome respite to all things acoustic as mind-bending drums cascade about while distortion-laden guitars build up to a climactic, vocal entrance. “Trivializing The Momentous, Complicating The Obvious” remains one of my favourite TOURNIQUET opuses to this very day.
I have no qualms about recommending “Acoustic Archives” to fans who own most – if not all – of the band’s discography. For casual fans, the aforementioned isn’t going to be as worthwhile as, say, “Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance” or “Where Moth and Rust Destroy.” This record is for completists and curious ones only. Adjust your wallet accordingly. (Online June 19, 2005)