I saw Barry Adamson live supporting Nick Cave in May 2008, and was blown away by him. He had such presence and pasion that I thought that his studio could not fail.
Off the back of his live version of "Still I Rise" I got this album... and I have to ask, "what the hell?"
This is a turgid insipid album that never gets going. The vocals seem mumbled, droning, with occasionals dashes of clearness. The music (I think) is supposed to jazz-rock fusion, but combines the worst elements.
The production is patchy, the lyrics are unfocussed (no artist should ever use the phrase "I'm agent double-o-six-six-six" and expect to be taken seriously"), and style does not settle.
I cannot think of a single thing to recommend this... other than it might do as a frisbee for a dog.
Really, so much promised, and so little delivered. Utter Rubbish.
A friend recommended Barry Adamson based on my love of Tom Waits, Dr John, Frank Zappa and John Martyn. I think she must have been mentally unwell at the time. This is the most unpleasant, discordant and disturbing music that has ever assaulted my ears. Horrible and inane. It took several hours to get rid of the headache.
Dug this out a while ago after it had gathered dust for years. Its a masterpiece. The man has been a part of some great bands over the years (Magazine, Bad Seeds) but this rivals even some of their best work. The first side is awesome, blending David Bowie and The The beautifully, peaking with the awesome Come Hell Or High Water (the best song Matt Johnson never recorded). Its vocal heavy for Adamson, but his voice is wonderfully seedy and one does wish he had utilised it more on earlier albums. Notable other highs are Can't Get Loose and the insanely powerful Still I Rise, yet he keeps a trick up his sleeve for the end of Jesus Wept that closes the album. Try listening to the 'welcome's' on headphones without feeling strangely uncomfortable. Great stuff.
This is the best Adamson LP to date, and if you don't yet own one of his records you have no idea just how good that is. I don't want to give to many comparisons, because nothing really fits, this guy is an excellent musician and moves from jazz to soul to blues to industrial to soundtrack without ever sounding contrived. Another plus is that Mr Adamson has been getting funnier and cooler with each passing record and tracks like 'can't get loose to using you''what it means' and 'Jazz Devil' are so good they were born to be classics.