Dallas, Texas-based rock outfit Abbreviations releases their brand-new album ABBV. Connecting with engineer Stuart Sikes, Abbreviations recorded ABBV in Austin in 2019.
Made up of Ashley Leer (guitar, vocals), Matt Leer (guitar), Chad Walls (bass), and Tony Wann (drums), members of the Abbreviations performed in an array of other bands prior to joining Abbreviations. Ashley Leer fronted Record Hop, and presently fronts the electro-pop band Def Rain. Matt Leer played in Mandarin, Baptist Generals, History At Our Disposal, and Diamond Age, while bassist Chad Walls was in Lo-Fi Chorus, Eyes Wings & Many Other Things, and Triangulum, while currently playing as Fond Phantom. On his part, Tony Wann played with Tendril, Record Hop and currently plays in Dallas’ Fake Maker.
Ashley started writing demos for what eventually became Abbreviations in 2016. Ashley explains, “I wanted something a little more poppy than my previous rock band, Record Hop, but still, something with some grit to it. That same year I found out my dad was diagnosed with ALS and was told he would only live another year, so the thought of death started seeping into my thoughts. I started reflecting on my life and the mistakes I’d made, the people I hurt, the people I loved, etc. That’s what these songs are about.”
Encompassing 10-tracks, entry points on ABBV include the opening track, “Tower,” riding a punchy rhythm topped by dark, jangly guitars as Ashley’s lusciously inflected voice gives the lyrics wistful coloration. A drum-laced breakdown presages the culmination of the tune, slowly fading on gleaming hues.
Talking about “Tower,” Ashely shares, “This song is about an argument that took place in a recording studio many years ago that I am embarrassed about, and hope was not being recorded. I blame the whiskey.”
“Trick” rolls out on a creamy, undulating rhythm, while glistening guitars travel overhead, mirroring the velvety tones of Ashley’s crème de la crème voice. “Turn You On” opens on shadowy guitars, exposing luminous tints. The bassline takes precedence, infusing the harmonics with a deep listing feel.
Muscular guitars give “Won’t Say” murky, edgy hues, growling low with searing accents. Ashley’s femme fatale timbres imbue the lyrics with dangerous flavors. Whereas tight, squeezing guitars open “True to Form,” riding rumbling syncopated drums. Tinged with riot grrrl inflections, Ashley’s voice injects the lyrics with ominous tones.
“Last night you were talkin’ trash behind the dreadful art you call your face / And last night you were better than me / True to form / Outside you should stay near me, behind the wall and all the kids fear me / Come over here, I’ve got a little secret I can tell.”
The final track, “Wonder” slowly builds in resonance and weight, reflecting Ashley’s elevating voice, gathering intensity and dynamic essence.
ABBV is an excellent album, brimming with potent alt-rock momentum and the deluxe voice of Ashley Leer.