Adem – Homesongs

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Album Review by Mark Bayross

After Four Tet’s ROUNDS album earlier this year, it is now the turn of fellow ex-Fridge (and Badly Drawn Boy backing band) member Adem to release his solo effort. The difference here is that not only does Adem sing now, but his cracked, expressive voice dominates the record.

Recorded in the lo-fi environs of a North London flat with, apparently, two borrowed microphones and an ancient computer, HOMESONGS has the distinctly DIY feel of an intense, personal collection of songs. The album’s title only serves to reinforce the fact that these ten tracks are bittersweet tales of Adem’s life laid bare.

Strumming an acoustic guitar for the most part, these songs have a “found sound” appeal that stretches beyond the stripped-down arrangements to provide a real feeling of warmth among the harmoniums and autoharps. From the slide guitar twang of CUT to the glockenspiel accompanying LONG DRIVE HOME, this is music of the soul in every possible sense, evoking everyone from Tom Waits to Nick Drake, via Shane McGowan and in its fairytale instrumentation, Björk.

The understated, slow-burning nature of the material, coupled with Adem’s admirably honest take on his voice (he may not be aware he sings flat, or more likely doesn’t care), means Slayer fans should probably steer clear, but anyone who has spent the odd candlelit night listening to Sigur Rós or Talk Talk could well be seduced by this album’s simple charms.

4 stars