It's like Magnetic Fields, Seam and Sebadoh had a baby. Deep quirky vocals, aggressive and gentle indie ballads with surprising horns and strings sprinkled throughout.


Acute (adj.): sharp or penetrating in intellect, insight, or perception: an acute observer.

ACUTE’s music may not be as easy to define as their name, but this definition is remarkably apt in describing the music on their debut full-length Arms Around A Stranger (Help Records). Although not one of the ten tracks on the album sound exactly the same, each one is unmistakably distinctive-and this feat is all the more impressive when you consider that the Southern California act have been playing together for less than two years.

On Arms Around A Stranger, Acute continue their relationship with producer Dave Trumfio (Wilco, My Morning Jacket) who worked with the band on 2006’s Selections EP, which “maintains an impressive flair for songcraft” (Washington Post, 12/1/06) and featured “...a jittery, energetic pop sound, casually sophisticated and catchy” (Patriot Ledger, 11/30/06).

Acute frontman Isaac Lekach previously wrote songs under the Poulain moniker, enlisting Andy LeMaster and Clay Leverett (Now It’s Overhead) to play on his For Passengers EP, which was released on Fiddler Records in 2005. However, when it came time for Poulain to hit the road, Lekach needed a touring band and recruited drummer Patrick Edwards (Ozma) and bassist Colt Maloney. Acute rose out of the ashes when Isaac and Patrick’s prior projects disintegrated and Colt’s second project with Whispertown2000 was just beginning.

“I think it’s kind of boring when bands write the same song over and over again,” Lekach explains when asked about the sonic diversity on Acute—and it shows. “You Want It? Take It! It’s Yours!” features soaring falsetto vocals and tasteful horn flourishes; “The City” is a driving power-pop number with distortion-laden guitars and a Ric Ocasek sensibility; and “Take A Step Back” contains angular indie-rock instrumentation and painfully honest lyrics like, “I can’t love you if you’re never coming back.” Oh, and did we mention that’s only the album’s first three tracks?

Recorded over a three-month period in 2006, Arms Around A Stranger was a collaborative effort with Dave Trumfio that helped Acute fully realize their potential. “He understood what we were going for with all of our songs because he’s a really good pop songwriter, too,” Lekach explains. In addition to helping the band fine tune their sound (a different drum kit and amp configuration was used on nearly every track), Trumfio also enlisted Jason Borger aka “The Professor” who has contributed string arrangements for the likes of American Music Club, Earlimart and Portastatic. Borger, who has since become a touring member of the band, wrote horn and string arrangements that give tracks like “Rush To It” and “When We’re Alone” an orchestral push. Isaac says producer Trumfio “understood what we were going for and he definitely helped us achieve it. He just made us sound like a better version of ourselves.”

Acute are planning to spend most of 2007 touring in support of Arms Around A Stranger, having made lots of fans during 2006’s “Death & Taxes” tour, of which noted: “…the live show was just as impressive as a recording of the band” (12/06). “Hopefully we’ll be on tour the whole year because I would want nothing else,” Lekach says. “Up until now we’ve really spent most of our time working on songs and recording, so it’ll be great to get back out there and see the world.” And with songs this disparate, Acute would be equally as able supporting Weezer as they would Wilco.

The complete track listing for Arms Around A Stranger is:

1) You want it? Take it! It's yours!
2) The City
3) Take a Step Back
4) Saint
5) Rush To It
6) Trouble
7) Follow You Home
8) You Could End Up In Love
9) Rip Your Heart Out!
10) When We're Alone

To hear and see ACUTE, please visit and



Available on iTunes and in stores everywhere

Available on iTunes and via our online store

"FOLLOW YOU HOME" Split 7" vinyl
with Pierre de Reeder (Rilo Kiley)