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Pop Polling

Accelera Deck
Pop Polling

Recording under the name of Accelera Deck, Chris Jeely has been a really busy fellow. Since the year 1997, he has released seven full-lengths along with about 10 singles and EPs. In addition to that, he's released several CDR-only efforts on smaller labels. Through the years, his style has slowly changed and dipped into different genres, finally arrived at his current incarnation of heavily-processed guitar music on the Ipsissima Vox release and continuing through to last years Sunstrings EP.

As usually happens when a musical change in direction is taken, both of those releases felt a bit unsteady in places, and the full length just seemed to go on for far too long. Between the two releases, there were some high points, though, and it seems that Jeely has focused in more on his strengths with Pop Polling and the result is a much more enjoyable release. The release opens with "Pop Polling" and the track is an absolutely gorgeous cascade of guitars that find quieter glints of processed guitars rippling off the surface like the sun on the small waves of a lake. As the title of the track (and album) suggests, the track moves with almost a pop song structure of verse and chorus and he outdoes himself even on the second track "Ferric." In it, clipped guitar melodies mingle with higher pinging notes while a super fuzzed-out wall of guitar slowly swells and moves the track along. The whole thing feels like a channeling of Christian Fennesz, and like his best tracks, make you aware of the music itself, not the heavy processing that's going on that makes them sound the way they do.

There are plenty of great moments on the release, like the crumbling, pinched guitar sounds of "Ski" and the absolutely gorgeous waves of "Isn't" (which feels much too short at just over two minutes). Unfortunately, Jeely still manages to come unfocused in a couple places, and the album suffers because of it. "Lips" runs over twelve minutes long and sounds like a long, unfocused guitar solo run through the gamut of just about effect possible while "Lips" completely breaks the flow of the album with a piercing barrage of noise that doesn't really add anything to the proceedings. Fortunately, the album closes with a gem in "As Always," an almost fifteen-minute epic that opens with a slowly unfolding drone before hitting a glitchy section midway through and finally closing out with subdued whirlwinds of guitar squalls.

Despite opening with some of his best work yet and featuring what is clearly his more developed work since really moving forward into the more ambient/noise genre, Pop Polling falters a bit due to some problems that have also had the same effect on previous Accelera Deck releases (namely lack of focus). He's obviously moving in the right direction, though, so hopefully his next effort is yet another step up.

Rating: 6