There’s a reason it’s taken so long for me to get this review out. Other than just the normal laziness, I’ve spent more time with this album than I’ve spent with an album I think ever (at least since I’ve been reviewing). Because god dammit I really want to like this. Like really, really badly. Because it has so much of what I would think I would want. Every song is well structured, and most of what is played is relevant to the main idea. There’s a wide variety of dynamics and textures throughout the album, filled to the brim with technical brilliance and beauty. The title track is probably my track of the year so far, and I don’t see how anything else is going to top it. It evokes a sort of cosmic beauty and wisdom that nearly brings me to tears every time I hear it. All and all, this has the making of an absolutely stunning record and AOTY candidate.
Here’s the problem: it isn’t any of those things, and instead of doing a long winded review no one will read, I’ll summarize Akroasis in a metaphor.
Imagine one of your friends tells you about this really nice steak restaurant near where you live, located in one of the more scenic and beautiful places in town. You go online and read the reviews and everyone is saying how absolutely fantastic it is, 5/5 stars. You get so excited you decide to take your wife/girlfriend/bodypillow out on a nice date. You get there, and to your surprise you get seated immediately, with some of the finest and nicest waiters you’ve ever met. You sit down, look around, and the ambiance is incredible. The lighting is perfect for a romantic evening, and you got a nice coshened booth to sit in. You look at the menu and decide to order, what else, the prime cut of steak. Everything seems perfect and you’re ready to have a wonderful evening.
The steak arrives with a smile, and it smells just as good as you thought it would be. You take a bit and you’re surprised at how not amazing it is. Like it’s good, there’s no doubt about that, but it doesn’t exactly wow you. As you keep eating it, you being to realize just how mediocre it is. Again, not bad, but this is not what you were expecting at all. You take a bite of the mashed potatoes and they’ve even blander. It’s like they had the potatoes, but forgot to put any flavor other than potato in them. The vegetables are actually quite good but that’s certainly not what you spent all of this money for. And the wine, well, you don’t even know. One sip it’s godly, another it tastes like it hasn’t aged at all. You end the meal technically full, but very much unsatisfied, for no amount of good service and atmosphere can make up for the main course simply not being up to par. You realize in the end that you paid 80 dollars for something you could’ve gotten for 15 bucks at a pretty good diner, and you wouldn’t have had nearly as many people staring at a grown man throwing food at a large pillow.