Singing Adams, Lexington, London
Thursday 05 January 2012
Modest to a fault, Steven Adams explains
while tuning up that his band’s performances start awkwardly, only relaxing at
the end, so everyone feels short changed.
With such acerbic jibes, the singer/guitarist may have developed an eccentric take on showmanship, though he is always entertaining between numbers.
Adams has much experience on this front, having previously led Broken Family Band, the sort of group described as cult for their lack of commercial success. They folded in 2009 after the release of five long-players, though less than a year later Adams put together a new four-piece. Singing Adams is something of an indie supergroup with members from outfits such as Absentee and Saloon, so they boast enough pedigree to take a break from the studio, where they are back recording, to headline at this Islington pub the first night of independent label Fortuna Pop’s Winter Sprinter gig series.
They also bear the sparky tunes of debut album Everybody Friends Now, released in 2011. Melinda Bronstein’s deft drum patterns and Matthew Ashton’s simple guitar fills counterbalance Adams’ dry delivery and bitter take on life. ‘Old Days’ has him in the role of a faded has-been, too despondent to be truly autobiographical, while Michael Wood carries its tune high up his bass’s fretboard. There is a similar bruised sensibility to The Leisure Society, though with more brooding resentment.
Another difference is that Singing Adams bring none of that that more feted group’s delicate adornments, with a resolute dedication to the sort of meat-and-two-veg guitar pop that could have been made any time in the past two decades. This means several tunes pass by pleasantly without lasting impact, their building blocks sounding too familiar, even ‘Elisabeth Frink’ with its harsh instrumental break lacks sufficient contrast. More recent material, though, suggests the group are finding their own direction.
‘Building A Wall’ has greater intensity than previous tunes, while another unfamiliar number with the refrain “Let’s start again instead of giving up” shows their writer finding a more optimistic mindset. As if to fulfil Adams’ earlier prediction, there is a wonderful finale where he notes the band have breached the venue’s curfew, so plays the last song quietly. He leans away from the microphone and towards his rapt audience; with responsive backing his unamplified vocal adds a hurt vulnerability to ‘Injured Party’. What came before was not necessarily awkward, but this kind of magic would be rare anywhere.
To mark Tolstoy's 186th birthdaybooks
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 British tourists 'murdered' in Thailand: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 2 Vivienne Westwood says 'Yes' to Scottish Independence by declaring: 'I hate England'
- 3 Welcome to Cameroon, where drinking Baileys can lead to imprisonment
- 4 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 5 Vogue under fire for 'Big Booty' article
Fifty Shades of Grey movie: New picture of Anastasia Steele unveiled
X Factor 2014 review: Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole clash over Rouge Kiss
Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
Exhibit B: 'Racist' human zoo installation criticised by protesters outside the Barbican
Doctor Who, Listen, review: Possibly Steven Moffat's most terrifying episode
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Salmond accused of laughing off national debt with ‘what are they going to do: invade?’ joke