By Adam Green
Well, this is a pleasant record. Kind of pleasant in the Gary Lineker sense of the word. You know where you are with it. You feel comfortable in its surroundings. Comfortable and stable. Adam Green's fifth studio album isn't going to spring any surprises on you, but that's not to suggest it doesn't contain any tunes. It does. Just not many of them. Weighing in at a huge twenty tracks it delivers toe tapping pop gems but unfortunately it's dogged by an insurgence of weaker tracks, posing the question of why it had to contain so many songs in the first place.
Opener 'Festival Song' immediately alerts us to the fact that this... could, be different. It's interesting. It sways from the large majority of his work in the respect that it seems to carry with it a much more mature sound and direction, it's honest, and genuine. What hit me straight away was the buoyant female harmony, not dissimilar to Merry Clayton's efforts in 'Gimme Shelter', however don't get carried away, it's not that good, and besides I don't want to create any sort of comparison with 'Gimme Shelter' here either. So maybe we should erase the Stones idea from our minds before we read on. Anyway, cue the end of the mature sound as 'Tropical Island' fires up. A light-hearted ditty, filling us with a heady imagistic concoction of grass skirts, sun, sea and sand.
First single, 'Morning After Midnight' is the stand out track, an excellent bit of feel-good drenched pop, summoning everything from a rousing brass section, to African style bongos, there's even room for lush female harmonies as Green saunters away from his usual dead pan deliver and gets himself in grooving mode. Typically he continues his show of wit and humour lyrically, "Hepatitis caught me off my guard" he sings on Broadcast Beach, another two and a half minute jingle that gently bobs along, it's a telling sign for most of the album, there's no harm being done here.
Instrumentally, 'Sixes and Sevens' progresses from 'Jacket Full of Danger' - it reverts, largely, back to the folkpop of 'Gemstones', however it's much more interesting in its extensive use of brass, something that saves the album from being, well, generally quite dull. The riff accompanying 'Cannot Get Sicker' sounds strangely like something you'd rush to show your parents after a few hours of bashing away at your first guitar, however those good old female backing vocals arrive, on cue, in the chorus, to soften the blow. 'You Get So Lucky' would have made a great addition to the 'Monkey Island' soundtrack with its trombones and flutes.
Essentially, it's a commendable effort which sadly suffers from the inclusion of too much filler. It does however bring forth a couple more tracks to be included on the eventual Greatest Hits - so with that in mind, the Adam Green bandwagon loiters on.