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It was 2013 and, out of nowhere it seemed, Adam Klein produced what became my favourite album of the year – Sky Blue De Ville. Deeply romantic, beautifully produced and boasting some great guitar work, it was an album to lose yourself in, a thread to follow from beginning to end and be glad that you were alive and sentient to appreciate it.

Well, 2015 comes along and the boy has done it again; Archer’s Arrow is a little shorter and maybe not quite so coherent in mood, but just as much of a gem as its predecessor. The two albums overlap in gestation, in fact, with the new album having been on the back burner for quite a while. The original tracks were recorded four years ago from a bunch of songs written over the course of a decade and it was only recently that Bronson Tew, producer and multi-instrumentalist, pulled the whole thing together to make something that belies its ad hoc origins to sound utterly compelling and immediate.

The obvious stand-out track is Burnin’ Love, an absolute monster of a song that vomits the emotions at the end of a love affair and then leaves the guitar to blaze those emotions even brighter and more furious. One of the great qualities of Sky Blue De Ville was a restraint that kept a tension running throughout; here that tension spills over the edge and the band’s inner rock gods come bursting through – gloriously! Most importantly, the trick achieved on the earlier album has been repeated here; the arrangements and the production make the most of Adam Klein’s singing, which forever has an air of pained yearning about it. A few lines in the middle of Burnin’ Love sum up the feel of the album for me:

“heading towards a once and future past that can’t be shaken/and the images are crashing in your brain/sometimes it’s beautiful/sometimes it’s hard and dark and pain”

This guy is familiar with the dark side of life and love and knows how to evoke it; ever fond of referring to his influences, on Archer’s Arrow he covers a Neil Young rarity, Bad Fog of Loneliness. Even if you don’t know that particular song, you can imagine from the title how it fits in here. Adam Klein has produced another collection that is an utter joy to give yourself over to and I’m hoping that his commitment to other ventures, including something of an acting career, won’t prevent him from crafting more gems like this.

John Davy

 

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April 2018

1
Courtney Marie Andrews
100 pts.
May Your Kindness Remain
Loose Music
PK,CVL,DHO,JB,LK
2
Mary Gauthier
59 pts.
Rifles And Rosary Beads
In the Black Records
 
3
Caleb Caudle
49 pts.
Crushed Coins
Cornelius Chapel Records
TJ,TK,MP
4
Western Centuries
48 pts.
Songs From The Deluge
Free Dirt Records
DD,GS,FS,HM
5
Vivian Leva
44 pts.
Time is Everything
Free Dirt Records
 
6
Ed Romanoff
42 pts.
The Orphan King
Pinerock Records
 
7
Grant Peeples
41 pts.
Settling Scores vol. 2
Continental
AN
8
Joan Baez
32 pts.
Whistle Down The Wind
Proper Records
 
9
Jeb Barry and the Pawn Shop Saints
29 pts.
Texas, etc...
DollyRocker
MF,HDB
 
Sam Morrow
29 pts.
Concrete and Mud
Forty Below Records
JV
11
Chris Smither
27 pts.
Call Me Lucky
Signature Sounds
JSM,JD
12
Michael McDermott
26 pts.
Out From Under
Continental Song City
CRS
13
John Prine
24 pts.
The Tree of Forgiveness
Oh Boy Records
SP
14
Mary Chapin Carpenter
23 pts.
Sometimes Just The Sky
Lambent Light Records
 
15
Dean Owens
22 pts.
Southern Wind
At The Helm
PJ
16
6 String Drag
21 pts.
Top of The World
Schoolkids Records
FCE,JS
 
Haley Heynderickx
21 pts.
I Need To Start A Garden
Mama Bird Recordings
 
 
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
21 pts.
Tearing At The Seams
Stax Records
RM
19
Abe Partridge
20 pts.
Cotton Fields And Blood For Days
Skate Mountain
MVP,RK
 
Adam James Sorensen
20 pts.
Dust Cloud Refrain
Continental Song City
BM
 
Ben Reel
20 pts.
Land Of Escape
B REEL Records
 
 
Chip Taylor
20 pts.
Fix Your Words
Train Wreck Records
LM
 
Kesia Nagata
20 pts.
Looking For Horses
Caramal Productions
GC,EZ
 
Sheesham & Lotus & 'Son
20 pts.
Clear The Table
SepiaPhone Records
SZ,PG
25
3hattrio
18 pts.
Lord of the Desert
Okehdokee Records
 
 
Marlon Williams
18 pts.
Make Way for Love
Dead Oceans

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