An outstanding "return to form" from Adamson, the king of cinematic and dramatic music. In fact, the phrase "return to form" suggests perhaps he has been dwindling - om the contrary, his past two vocal attempts, As Above So Below and The King of Nothing Hill, have been nothing (hill) short of spectacular! But there's no denying this is his finest work since the 1996 classic collaboratory classic "Oedipus Schmoedipus".
It has been a fair wait for this release and since the news that he had left Mute had filtered through, I thought that maybe this record would not occur - but it did, and my life has been enriched! Seriously, this is Adamson's finest record to date and sonically (and emotionally) it covers all of the bases of his solo career so far (from the mighty Moss Side Story and beyond) with such ease, it makes you wonder how he does it. The cinematic edges are still here, but there is an overall feeling of freedom that also prevails throughout and it resonates beautifully throughout. There is an almost "folk" feel to a number of the tracks, which is an interesting direction for someone such as Adamson to go in, but if you know BA's work, you'll know already that he is a master of whatever genre he wishes to dive into next. Electronica fans also will not be dissapointed with most of this disc, as some of the eclectic sounds are surely digitally sourced.
Furthermore - if "The Long Way Back Again" isn't track of the year in some critics polls, surely I'll eat my hat! Such an incredible song.
Glad to have you back, Barry! Thanks for the signed copy via your website.
Barry Adamson - Stranger On The Sofa (Central Control) A welcome return from Adamson, who is now comfortably ensconced on his own Central Control label, after several years (and releases) with Mute.
Long-time fans will be encouraged to hear that a change of label in no way means a change of style; he's still making epic cinematic soundscapes for films that exist nowhere but in his own head. There's a hint of earthy, folky goodness to some of the tracks, though they compliment the electronica and orchestrations rather than take over, and it's less instrumental than his earlier works, with Adamson providing the vocals throughout. Indeed, both "The Long Way Back Again" and "Theresa Green" boast excellent chops, and are beautiful examples of intelligent, grown-up pop. 9/10.
A satisfying listen after 2002's patchy 'King of Nothing Hill', Adamson's latest touches on all his characteristic themes which probably makes it a good choice for first-timers. He continues to move from the more instrumental early work - the majority of 'Stranger On The Sofa's tracks feature lyrics, and most are sung by Adamson himself. So it's good to see that he's become more comfortable with his singing voice - both 'Theresa Green' and 'The Long Way Back Again', as well as being gorgeous pop songs, feature some of his best vocal performances yet.
Production and arrangements throughout are top-notch, and it's hard not to love an album which follows Anna Chancellor's eerie 'Here In the Hole' with the lovely 'Long Way Back Again'. It's a trick Adamson's used before, lurching from sinister to uplifting without pause for breath - 'You Sold Your Dreams' even manages to be both at the same time.
His sense of humour hasn't gone astray either - especially on the buzzing, swirling 'My Friend The Fly', while on the instrumental side, 'Dissemble' is the standout, a great, propulsive spy/chase scene theme... another of Adamson's trademarks