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Demolition & Construction
on 9 May 2005
'Demolition' is Ryan's collection of demo's "left over" from the various recording sessions in Nashville, Los Angeles and Stockholm circa 'Gold'. Indeed, this album seems to be the flipside of his second album proper and is best described as 'a bit of a mixed bag, but mostly good'. On the record he works with backing band the Pinkhearts, Gillian Welch, 'Heartbreaker' collaborator David Rawlings, 'Heartbreaker' and 'Gold' producer Ethan Johns, Carrie Hamilton Chris Stills, Bucky Baxter and Greg Leisz.
Tracks include the pleasant country tracks, but mildly disappointing, 'Desire' and 'Hallelujah', which is nothing more than a second rate 'Firecracker' from 'Gold'. In contrast, acoustic ditties such as the Nick Drake-like 'You Will Always Be The Same' and the brilliant and emotive 'Cry On Demand' rank among Adams' best work. The albums highlight is 'Tomorrow', and the fact that it was co-written with Carrie Hamilton, a friend of Ryan's who appears on the sleeve of 'Gold' who later died from cancer, makes the song seem even more touching. It is a beautiful solo acoustic track with excellent duel vocals from Ryan and Gillian Welch. Elsewhere, 'Jesus (Don't Touch My Baby)', although one of the weaker tracks on the album, is another emotional song about when the author first found out about Carrie Hamilton's cancer.
Other highlights include lead single 'Nuclear' is an excellent opener which ranks with Ryan's best songs, and 'Starting To Hurt' is a bass-line lead rocker about a woman jumping from the top of a building, which is another touching moment once you know the story behind the song. However, for every good track, there is one which disappoints. 'Gimme A Sign' is pedestrian and easily forgotten, and 'Tennessee Sucks' is quite nice but again not very memorable. However, considering that this is a collection of "unfinished demo's" (which is hard to believe when you listen to this record) then these are only minor flaws, as 'She Wants To Plays Hearts', 'Dear Chicago' and 'Chin Up, Cheer Up' are all welcome on the record.
Therefore, not as complete as his previous two "proper" studio albums but at only 13 tracks it makes it a bit easier to listen to than the 16 tracks of 'Gold'. As far as albums go, this isn't bad at all, but as far as demo collections go, this is excellent. Another essential Ryan Adams record.