PETER BRADLEY ADAMS
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Peter Bradley Adams has a voice that’s David Wilcox-like sweet and soothing. The former front man of Eastmountainsouth, a duo signed by Robbie Robertson, is back with his fourth solo album. Like the previous three, is impresses with its gentleness and is nearly retro in the manner in which it highlights songwriting and voice without a lot of extraneous production and noise. The arrangements often reminded me of Daniel Lanois, especially the way in which various electric guitar guest musicians used their instruments for sonic soundscaping. The album’s quietness is both its strength and its weakness in the sense that it’s a balm for frenzied minds, but doesn’t work so well when you’re bombing down the highway in an upbeat mood. It consists of eleven songs, all of which are mid-tempo. This gives the album a distinct identity, but it also lists toward monochromatic. Adams’ voice could use a bit of controlled grit in order to add emphasis to his poetic lyrics. Ditto the need to explore a broader range of time signatures.
I enjoyed this CD, but my enthusiasm waxed and waned according to my mood. I did find that it required close concentration lest it become aural wallpaper. I also found myself listening hard for small adornments that broke the tone a bit. Some of this was achieved by the gorgeous backing vocals of Aoife O’Donovan on songs such as “My Love is My Love” and “Waltz for the Faithless.” Even more came when I just sat down and listened, without outward distractions. That said, Adams has been labeled a “promising” artist for several years now and this album will not be a game-changer. It’s pleasant and well worth purchasing, but Adams needs to expand his repertoire and musical palette before he’ll shed his old label and become a consistent headliner.
Check out this lovely YouTube clip.