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Happy Hosting, Happy New Year - Rob Ellen
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.
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