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)

**

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Kinky Friedman
Resurrection (Record Review)

Rick Weaver, Jan. 3, 2020

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

Oct. 9, 2015

Live Shots
X Games: Nicki Minaj

June 12, 2015

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Willis Earl Beal

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle