11 September 2014

Ryan Adams - 1984


This is a bonus review to my current list of albums for 2014. I was expecting to be reviewing the latest (and self titled) album from Ryan Adams, so I was preparing the post (I know this might seem strange, but some prep does go into these posts) and I saw a new album on Spotify which was not the album I was expecting.  It turns out what Ryan Adams is doing at the minute is releasing albums/eps on a 7" vinyl format on the label Pax-Am.  These are limited releases that are new material in various different styles, as Mr Adams does not like to pigeon hole himself; he never lets the dust settle too much.  Anyway, with the release of '1984' we find Mr Adams playing in the style of early 80's American alternative/indie artist such as early R.E.M. and The Replacement.  So let’s see how the album (it is ten tracks, which is not an EP in my eyes) pans out.
Starting with "When The Summer Ends", you are thrown into a swirl of alternative pop noise that has that retro feel from the beginning.  It has a great energy much like the Replacements before hand; also (much like every song on here) it does not stay around.  It is just over a minute in length and it is a perfectly formed song with two verses, a chorus and a great ending.  "What If You Were Wrong" keeps up the energy and feels like it is a lost Bruce Springsteen classic before he went pop.  You can sense the deliberate edge to the song, it is a tribute more than anything; but as tributes go it is still a good number.  "Over And Over" is the shortest song on offer here at 38 seconds, it is the nearest the album gets to the Washing DC Hardcore scene in term of feel; there is an anger here and then it is gone.  It could have been stretched out, but as the release was just a 7" vinyl it sort of makes the choices for the band.  "Change Your Mind" is the fourth song here, twice the length of "Over And Over"; it does not have that instant impact that "Over And Over" has, but it does grow on you over repeated plays.  The fifth song is called "Broken Eyes"; the formula is not changed here.  You get the fast energy, the frantic lyrics and punk/garage vibe.  It is another interesting track that brings us to the half way point of the album.

Coming next is "Why Did They Leave You Alone" which starts with a police siren and does not stop from that moment.  There is a great feeling that Husker Dü with this number; it is very close to being the best track of release.  There has not been a slow number so far on this release and I am not expecting any tracks to bring out the acoustic track.  "Rats In The Wall" does just what the other tracks have done, you have that punky/garage edge with the short anthemic chorus and it comes in at just over a minute in length.  "Bones And Ashes" comes along like the evil twin of "When The Summers End", it just seems like a darker piece for the album.  Still a short, sharp, shock track and keeps that all important energy going. "Wolves" is a brilliant track; the riff comes out like greyhound on a track running for its life.  I adore the tone of the music, the fact that you have a part where it is just the bass and drums and Ryan sounds like he was part of The Replacements!  The penultimate track is "Push It Away" is so close to being the track of the album, with that energy driving the song towards Mr Adams ending it with a laughter fit; this is a brilliant song.  Ending the album is the only track which does not have frantic drumming or guitars.  Much like some of those 80's bands of yonder years, you have the distortion peddle down on the floor still and it ends the album with an introverted feeling.

This album (I cannot call it an EP as it is 10 tracks long) is still just around 11 minutes in length, it is a frantic release with a full of nostalgia vibe.  There is nothing about this release that does not hark for years gone by, but this does not make it a redundant release.  It might not be a world beater that will conquer all, to be honest it might not make it beyond his loyal followers; but those people that hear it will enjoy this eleven minute release of lost teenage angst..... from someone who is approaching his forties this year.


7 out of ten - This is good and well worth a check

Top track - Bones And Ashes


You can purchase the 7" version of this album from Amazon (for a stupid price at the moment) from here

You can visit the Ryan Adams website here

You can also visit the Pax.Am website here

You can listen to the album on Spotify here

Here is a link for our readers who use Deezer

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