Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Sometimes it takes everything we have to forget. We're not even talking the really important stuff, or the things that we want and need to forget to go on without issue. We're just talking anything. We're talking about that red-headed girl from elementary school who was mostly a tomboy then, pretty cool, you got along. You find out nearly thirty years later - via an email out of the blue - that you were her first crush and not only does she still remember you and your name, but she remembers very specific details about what you brought to school for show and tell. You'd forgotten it all, until reminded, and yet she still kept that knowledge. You're unable to forget the boy who ran up the stairs from that same elementary school cafeteria with diarrhea spilling down his legs and trailing behind him, never to return to school. You remember the strip club next to a hotel in Rockford, Illinois, that your traveling baseball team stayed at when you were 10 and you'll never forget which of your friends you were standing next to when you collectively opened a side door and saw your first live, naked boob before being chased off. Some things are just there and they serve little purpose, but we house those thoughts in the same areas where we have our social security number memorized. They're kept whether we like it or not.
Kansas City band, The ACBs, feel like a group of men that keeps a lot as well and some of what they keep really starts to wear on them. It's the reason for the band and for the songs, all in a fairly soothing, melodic stream of consciousness, and we can sense that lead singer Konnor Ervin has been rattled by lots of his memories, even those of seemingly inconsequential matter and effect. A newer song, like "Feel Winter," reminds us of the thoughts cooked up when cooped indoors for the long haul of a Midwestern winter. The title couldn't be more specific, in that way, giving us every indication of what's going to come to pass. It's a song that feels as if it's coming from a mind that hunkered down, burrowing into those unturned memories of long-gone friends and passing people, not to mention a couple of them who might be long-gone but have never quite been forgotten. They might be the people about whom you remember some of the most minute details, some of which you'd not be able to recall if they pertained to your own immediate family.
When Ervin sings the loose line, "If I could ask you, did you consider me at all?" addressed to no one in particular, it's followed by a light crescendo of ahhs that feels like a drift of snow being blown curved and dusty at the top, shaping itself with the sound. It sounds like it's taken a long time to come to some of these more comforting grounds, where everything isn't so pivotal or important. A song about Xanax, in a very informal way, suggests that some anxiety and panic has been put on ice and as Erwin offers on "Neon Light, "Even the heaviest of words couldn't affect you now." Even if it's a conceit or a figment, it feels good for now, in these waters.