The British music scene is a peculiar place where some of the most creative, talented people are allowed to remain cloaked in so called cult status.
Take Darren Hayman for example. He is churning out some of the best music by a UK artist in recent years, most recently his January Songs project (review here). But after two decades in music where are his Mercury nominations? Where is his own ATP Festival? Or his millions of global record sales?
The same can be said of Steven Adams, who over the years has been producing some similarly fine music with The Broken Family Band and now the more indie music focused Singing Adams, building up a small but dedicated army of fans without huge commercial success.
Singing Adams are at pains to point out that they are very much a band, rather than merely Adams’ backing band. The Line of Best Fit felt their disdain recently on their Facebook page, after daring to suggest this was the case.
So in the interests of avoiding a similar rollicking let it be known that The Singing Adams also feature this bunch of seasoned musicians: guitarist Matthew Ashton, whose bands have included Saloon and The Leaf Library; drummer Melinda Bronstein, who has played with Absentee and Wet Paint; and bassist Michael Wood, of Michaelmass.
Everybody Friends Now shows they are right to push this collective argument. It is arguably more pop-savvy than Broken Family Band’s output, with its trumpets and guitar riffs, courtesy of Ashton in particular clearly showing he is a keen student of classic British indie guitar bands.
Nevertheless it would be wrong to totally underplay Adams’ direction and on Everybody Friends Now there are inevitable similarities with The Broken Family Band such as their bittersweet lyrics and similarly catchy hooks.
Among our favourite tracks on this album of welcome consistency is the single ‘I Need Your Mind,’ one of the most infectious tracks of the year and with some pretty filthy lyrics as well (or possibly they are innocent and we just have filthy minds).
Other highlights are the thoughtful ‘The Old Days’ and ‘Injured Party’, which is wonderfully reminiscent of the glory days of mid 1980s indie music, most notably The Wedding Present.
The only curve ball in all this Summer indie pop is the piano heavy final song ‘Married Woman’, which may just be the best track on the album, with its sumptuous vocals and trumpet arrangements.
What is so good about this album is that at its core is a fine bunch of great indie pop songs with some clever lyrics and a heart. That’s actually quite an achievement considering the fairly middling output of other acts that get far more column inches such as The Vaccines. Already Everybody Friends Now, like Hayman’s January Songs, is a contender for one of our Top 20 albums of the year slots. I guess that minor accolade will have to do while they wait patiently for the Mercury nomination and platinum disc.
by Joe Lepper