Willis Earl Beal

Acousmatic Sorcery (XL)

ACL Music Fest Sunday Reviews

Willis Earl Beal

Acousmatic Sorcery (XL)

Chicago's Willis Earl Beal is a weirdo. A broken voice in a sprightly young body, he croaks over cobbled, DIY beats, yet sounds relentlessly old-fashioned. He was happy to live homeless, but he also went on X-Factor. It's a strange path to notoriety, but debut Acousmatic Sorcery arrives with a legacy. Appropriately, it's frustrating and intriguing in equal doses. When Beal's interested in writing songs, he can sound like a visionary. Fiery anthem "Take Me Away" pounds ear-scarring in the most rewarding of ways, while the barely-there ballad "Monotony" is among the tenderest moments of 2012. Then there's plenty of noisy antisocial experimentations ("Cosmic Queries," "Swing on Low") to keep us at arm's length. They're interesting in their Jandek-ian sprawl, but annoyingly absent of intimacy. Once Willis Earl Beal becomes comfortable with us, he'll probably start making better albums. (6:15pm, BMI stage)


More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Chris Fullerton
Epilepsy Blues (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, Sept. 1, 2017

Texas Platters
Jean Caffeine
Sadie Saturday Nite (Record Review)

Greg Beets, Sept. 1, 2017

More by Luke Winkie
ACL Music Fest 2015 Friday Record Reviews – Second Weekend
Dirty Sprite 2 (Record Review)

Oct. 9, 2015

Live Shots
X Games: Nicki Minaj

June 12, 2015


Willis Earl Beal

AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)