Acres and Acres do simple in the most complicated way. Its debut album, All Nations, balances studio acoustic and lap steel guitars with the rich sounds of about a dozen musicians performing at Robie Street's All Nations Christian Reformed Church.
"It's funny because we wanted to make it simple and easy," says Dave Scholten. "We did two sessions like that, and then we said, 'What about strings...and a church.'"
Acres and Acres was supposed to be a folky break from Scholten and Kris Pope's multitrack-heavy rock band Down with the Butterfly. On lazy days off they would have "national Acres and Acres days"---bumming around from cafe to cafe, talking and running into people. "That's exactly how the name and the whole concept for the album came about," says Pope. "We just wanted it to be the opposite of the other band."
A tribute to their Halifax, All Nations explores relationships and modern life with an ensemble cast of friends and neighbours on strings, ukes, drums and backing vocals. But recording off the floor, the musicians were at the church's mercy. Drums were scaled back to almost nothing, and Scholten, singing without a PA, even had to hold back on consonants. Their sparse recording invites you to share in the experience, and hear every creak and emotion as though you were sitting in a first-row pew.