LA’s Acetone have calmed down considerably the churning cool-psych wail that permeated their impressive 1993 debut, Cindy. In fact, paired with last year’s I Guess I Would–a breezy, laid-back EP of country and folk covers with a title exemplifying the trio’s musical tentativeness–the new If You Only Knew sometimes seems to be the work of an altogether different band. While the controlled outbursts of guitar–which served as effective climaxes for the brilliantly dynamic tunes–were often linked by softly ambling passages, the band has since made these quiet parts its mantra. With the exception of the Neil Young-ish overdrive exhibited on “The Final Say,” Acetone have jettisoned their pedal-hopped range and transformed their sound into a pin-drop quietude. Drummer Steve Hadley’s light touch, bassist Richie Lee’s gentle, almost cooing vocals, and the sweet harmonizing of guitarist Mark Lightcap extract a rarefied beauty from the new minimalism. They still draw on older material, and a set I saw this spring proved that they could handle the softness live. Thursday, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 276-3600. PETER MARGASAK
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/William Howard.