Leeds Music Scene

Ringing in My Ear by Adem

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Reviewed on 26th September 2004.


Ringing in My Ear

By Adem

Someone please buy me a rug, light me a fire, burn me some incense and invite Adem around for dinner.

Perhaps it's the reference to "toasted marshmallows", but this soft delicacy of a song reminds me of a carefully baked cake. The twanging acoustics and gentle waltz time are mixed together by Adem's stirring vocals. Add warm spice, melting ginger and leave to rise into a golden furnace as a glockenspiel trails spun sugar spiderwebs over the chorus and tarnished autumn leaves flutter down past the September windows. Wistful, troubling lyrics - "You threw me away, away to the jackals" - plumb the murky depths of heartache and surface like the dawn with hope and a new sense of beauty - "I looked at landscapes I had forgotten".

There is something musty and archaic about Adem's longing, soothing music. In juniors, I went on a school trip to a Viking-village-replica-type-place, where, after a day of learning how to plough fields in the rain using only one implement and absolutely no horse power (all of this irrelevant), we spent the evening sat around thick oak tables underneath amber lanterns, drinking red wine (well, imitation fruit juice, we were only 9), telling folktales, reading poetry and singing in a wooden hut with mud for floors and hessian wallhangings. B-side 'Let Me Give You A Reason' conjures up a similarly communal, almost tribal, atmosphere, with its woody, smoky recorder, ghostly chants and shaking, click-clacking percussion. It's mystical, earthy, even pagan.

'Wake Up Lullaby' is an innocent swirl of sleepy harmonies undercut by a dull pain and loneliness. The undiluted purity and simplicity of Adem's music is like a reversion to childhood, an escape from the toil of everyday life where you can run off to a cosy hide-away cave, look out at the world and try to forget everything. A belated review for a collection of songs that make time stand still.



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