Barry Adamson remains the sort of artist that one sits up and takes notice of. There's nothing in this gentlemen's back catalog -- and I'm counting recordings done both as a prodigious solo artist and as a member of Magazine and then Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds -- that doesn't drip with invention and the sort of big, bold, brave music-making that far, far too few musicians dare risk anymore. The new EP, Love Sick Dick, out Friday, is no exception.
Rolling in like he's starring in his own spy flick, Adamson starts the release off with the swagger of "I Got Clothes" which segues nicely into the jazzy "Sweet Misery", all smooth edges and hard beats. "People Like Us" ought to be a huge hit. It is the sort of thing that bands like Primal Scream and Spiritualized tried to pull off so many times at the turn of the 21st century but Barry, as one would expect, can do this sort of thing with his eyes closed. Effortlessly cool, the cut is a dash of the Swingin' Sixties wrapped up in a sleek, modern package. "On Golden Square" is more traditional in its supple electro-pop attack, while "They Walk Among Us" recalls the best bits from Barry's early solo recordings, the cut a soundtrack to Adamson's own dreams, or yours. "One Hot Mess" ends the EP with a nod in the direction of stuff like The Wolfgang Press, or even Fad Gadget, acts who, one realizes now, probably cribbed a trick or two from the Adamson play-book some decades ago. This final cut on Love Sick Dick manages to rides a big hook in a song that feels rather intimate in its presentation. Adamson has always had a knack for pulling this sort of thing off and so many of his compositions share this similar rare trait of being accessible but personal and introspective.
I suppose that one could call some of what Barry's produced post-modern soul as it would be an easier way to describe this sort of material, the 6 songs on Love Sick Dick included, seeing as how so much of what he's done as an artist doesn't fit nicely into any one musical category. If anything, Barry Adamson's solo career has been one spent assimilating styles and then releasing material that effectively blurred genres with a great deal of ease. The 6 cuts here are worthy additions to that back-catalog, and further bits of proofs of the man's enduring musical genius.
[Photo: Uncredited Facebook picture]