Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Barry Adamson: "I Will Set You Free" (album review)

Barry Adamson has had a long and storied career in music, as a member of Magazine, The Bad Seeds, and as a solo artist.  On February 14th he adds yet another chapter with the release of his tenth solo studio album I Will Set You Free.

Adamson has accumulated many an influence over the years.  His broad experiences lend themselves well, helping to create a unique musical montage.

The album kicks off with "Get Your Mind Right", an amped up pop rock number that sounds like Honey's Dead-era Jesus & Mary Chain covering INXS, if you can imagine that.

The maelstrom of the Bad Seeds is reflected in "The Trigger City Blues", a song that lulls you before exploding into near-sensory overload.  A dynamic, almost funky rhythm mesmerizes you on "Black Holes In My Brain".  Adamson uses tension masterfully on the dark, ominous "Looking To Love Somebody", a remarkably sexually-charged track.

Garage rock is what Adamson may do best however.  And that's exactly what he does on the energetic, if straightforward, lead single "Destination".

Not everything works on the album.  "The Power of Suggestion", for instance, is a mid-tempo piano and drum machine number that feels oddly conservative.  On the other end of the scale, "If You Love Her" takes the drama a little bit too far, venturing into schmaltzy territory.

The ship is righted in the end as Adamson caps things off with the supremely confident "Stand In".  And after all, why shouldn't Adamson sound confident.  He's been successfully making music on the fringes for more than three decades.

Best tracks: "Black Holes In My Brain", "The Trigger City Blues"

Track listing for I Will Set You Free:
  • Get Your Mind Right
  • Black Holes In My Brain
  • Turnaround
  • The Power of Suggestion
  • Destination
  • The Trigger City Blues
  • Looking To Love Somebody
  • The Sun and The Sea
  • If You Love Her
  • Stand In

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