Adam Green - Gemstones

2006-03-29 22:15

Green's exuberant, countrybilly songs are charming at first - rousing in their sing-along dippyness. The rollercoaster title track might even seem brilliant, in a "WHAT?" kind of way. Sadly, Green seems to be overly thrilled by dirty words, and his lyrics are lazy. Like a kid shouting "poo" over and over, he delights in anything that sounds naughty.

It's a pity, because Green has his beautiful, even touching moments. His singing is deceptively rough, but his deep voice is a very powerful tool, and when he's forced to stretch himself, his inflection is appealing. Now and again, his sulky boyishness is likeable: lines like "who took my toys away / and gave me coffee / who wants some coffee?" or "her breasts taste just like breakfast" somehow make sense despite Adam's best efforts.

"Losing on a Tuesday" is a wonderfully Elvis-like, self-pitying mope with a slight smile lurking in it, and the smug "He's the brat" has a catchy superior sneer. The epic "Before my bedtime" is probably the most believable track - it's about a breakup... well that's a guess. It's hard to find the meaning in Green's musical mess. Most of the time, he sounds like a schizoid blend of Leonard Cohen, Jim Morrison, Zappa, a bad musical, a country star high on tik, and your average aging local pub band.

And after a listen or two, Green's songs, short though they are, become a drag. His protest ditties (one is called "Choke on a c**k") are trite and immature, and don't do his cause any good, filled as they are with puerile sexual references, and flanked on either side by tracks packed with misogyny.

On the plus side, Gemstones is something different to what you'll hear on radio. It may not be worth the high import price, but it is worth a listen - perhaps you'll even want your own copy, just for a laugh. Try it if you liked Nelly McKay's Get Away from Me. However, true loyal fans of the bizarre would probably be better off hooking themselves up with a copy of William Shatner's excellent Has Been, and real indie folk fans would do better with Bright Eyes' I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning or Willy Mason's Where the Humans Eat.

*Listen to the selection of tracks by clicking the song name.

- Jean Barker

Indie folk guy Adam Green was one half of indie folk outfit Mouldy Peaches, and has two and a half solo albums to his name. His promising full-length debut album, Garfield, was lauded by critics. Its left wing, amiably witty "anti-folk" formula appealed to the literary music fan hating life under Bush. But the consensus among critics is: Gemstones is a big fat letdown. But is it?

Lunee 2005/05/23 5:30 PM
Rude Dude Adam Green sounds like he needs to wash his mouth out with soup.
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