Singing Adams, Everybody Friends Now

Andrew Mueller

By Andrew Mueller

on 03.01.11 in Reviews

The Singing Adams is Steven Adams, previously the singer with English alt/country outfit the Broken Family Band. Although Adams remains anchored to his core influences, he allows himself a good deal more chain, drifting to points including, but not limited to, a punky take on English folk and paisley-spangled college rock.

A fine start to Steven Adams’s second act

Everybody Friends Now strikes an adroit balance between Adams's sprawling ambitions and his lo-fi resources — he sounds like he has paid careful attention to the not-dissimilar works of the Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merritt. Brass is deployed throughout the album, evoking the soulful furies of prime Dexy's Midnight Runners — especially on the mournful "Giving It All Away" and the swinging "Move On". The latter features a rousing call-and-response chorus and the terrific line "She was torn/ Between me and someone nice".

As a lyricist, Adams has an acute knack for sketches of everyday dramas; he is an astute judge of the right moment to leaven matters with the deadpan throwaway. The wry infidelity duet "Married Woman," for example, is an exemplary exercise in laughter through tears, and "I Need Your Mind" is a pulsing Richard Thompson-like stammer of thwarted desire, at least up until the incongruous sing-along in the chorus. The demise of The Broken Family Band was regrettable: They deserved better than they ever got. It's some consolation that Everybody Friends Now is such a fine start to Adams's second act.