Over the next week...
Vicky Eacott

16:41 27th February 2006

What’s a singer-songwriter to do in these over-populated times?  Some turn to toy instruments for the answer, others kitchen utensils.  Anything to make music that sounds new, that sounds different.  More still will just cling to their Bob Dylan records and emotion-clad sleeves and hope for this best.

And so Steve Adey leans somewhat towards the latter.  (As his slow, piano-accompanied cover of Dylan’s ‘Shelter From The Storm’ may indicate – he also has an album of Dylan covers songs under his belt.)  There is nothing so joyously frivolous as a toy instrument here, just pure heartfelt emotion throughout, filtered through ten dark, mournful songs.  At times the record captures dreamlike moments such as opener ‘Death To All Things Real’ (an instrumental) perhaps indicating Adey’s full potential.  It’s true the music can provide striking moments, particularly in bolder songs where Adey is backed by a larger cast of musicians.  For example, the clatter and ethereal harmonies of ‘The Lost Boat’ Song, the simmering atmosphere and woozy, echoed vocals of ‘The Last Remark’ and forthcoming single ‘Find The Way’.  At these moments he may recall contemporaries such as Anthony and The Johnsons and Rufus Wainwright. 

All too often though the record seems interchangeable with dozens of other singer-songwriters.  Its appeal is somewhat confined to only fans of others like him.  It’s good but is never quite as remarkable as the best of its genre.