A Distant Bell
Artist: Acoustic Shack   
Label: Red Moon Records
Time: 10 tracks/39:58

Thanks to fan mail over their five-year absence, Acoustic Shack is back. And much, much better. It's the same husband and wife duo at work, so the songwriting and vocals will be quite familiar to past fans, but this time around they've deepened and layered their sound considerably. This is due to a great production and the use of keyboards for extra sounds and textures in the mix (a few artificial but well-done drum beats are introduced as well). Acoustic, electronic, and electric elements are blended seamlessly, with plenty of bass to pleasantly vibrate your stereo (that always knocks any music up a few notches).

The back cover of the hip packaging pictures Laura sitting in a cushioned chair, knees pulled to her chest, head back and eyes closed, meditating, praying. You get that feeling she wrote these songs that way; eyes closed, just humming praises to and longings for the One Who Is Higher. Michael's semi-hypnotic keyboard and guitar work, influenced slightly by U2 and Radiohead, often lays a droning harmonic foundation for Laura's purring velvet alto to worship over.

If you aren't the type of person who also sits in chairs and meditates to music in your head, most of these songs might blend together and bore you. But if you want some very well-done, mature modern music to relax to, or you were once a fan who wished for more, this distant bell is ringing for you. Come and get it.

Email the band at info@acousticshack.com.

By Josh Spencer

Acoustic Shack's newest release, A Distant Bell is a work of art.  It took five years for them to do it, but it was well worth it.
 
Acoustic Shack's music is light modern rock, but it's not top 40 material. The songs have a lot of gothic overtones with many written in mesmerizing minor keys.  The keyboard and guitar work of Michael Misiuk is excellent, creating a solid flowing background for the beautiful voice of his wife Laura Misiuk.  The instrumentation and vocals combine to create rich textures that are hypnotic.  The songs sooth and relax while preaching the loving message of our God.  The final product has elements of Sixpence None the Richer, Symbiotica, and Siouxsie and the Banshees with the vocals calling to mind the latter.  While the music is not truly gothic compared with an act like Concrete Blond; there are quite a few similarities to the lyrics and style of that genre.
 
The production quality of A Distant Bell is well above expectations for an independent label too.  The sound is crisp without being over produced. The real magic here is that even with all of the keyboard and synth work, it still isn't too busy.  All and all, this is excellent.  The only problem is that it is over too soon.