One of the many highlights of Midwinterfest 2016 was the set performed by Adam Sweet and his band and now nearly 12 months later his latest EP is ready for release. It is a five song collection, mainly consisting of excellent guitar work along with the occasional stomp box, egg shaker and tambourine. The lack of bass and drums in no way makes this EP any the lesser, in fact it would probably nestle quite nicely next to elements of the first Dire Straits album.
The EP opens with “Move On” co-written with Boon Gould one of the founding members of Level 42. Initially delivered as little two word bursts “you’re shouting, she’s screaming, you’re talking, she’s crying” over a chugging guitar. It’s the sound of a relationship crashing and burning and then goes on to detail the after effects, “Not sleeping, not eating, your heart has stopped beating” but comes with the frank realisation that “You’ve got to begin all over again”. There is some lovely guitar picking making for a perfect opener.
“Albertine” is the first of three Steve Black co-written songs, and is the up tempo rocker of the record. It comes with some great lines such as:
“She can chain my heart in irons, Like a Christian facing lions, She’d crawl from here to Zion for a smile my smile”.
A straight forward love song, possibly the most accessible song for a newcomer to Adam’s charms.
Steve Black also has a writing credit for “New Friend”, a warning tale of the perils of substance abuse in “the dark side of town” where someone will “do anything for their new friend”. The guitars build up an element of menace throughout the song as do the lyrics “It’ll get you in the end”. It ends with a line of hope with the singer offering to stay through thick and thin with the words “I won’t let you drown”.
The only cover of the EP comes in the shape of Jackson Browne’s “These Days”, and it bears comparison to the original. Stripped back to just a couple of guitars, it almost has a greater feeling of loss than the original which loses a little of its pathos buried underneath the sound of drums and piano.
On hearing “Take Your Time” the first time round it sounded that it might have come from an old Free or Fleetwood Mac record. There seems to be a huge amount of space for the vocals and guitars to inhabit. It is another Steve Black co-write, and mainly built around 3 notes, with the additional guitars providing a dreamy backing. It is Adam’s best vocal performance of the EP and a suitable way on which to close out the EP.
An EP of eminently listenable songs and a worthy early 2017 addition to any sensible music lovers collection.