CD: Steve Adey - The Tower of Silence | New music reviews, news & interviews
CD: Steve Adey - The Tower of Silence
English songwriter returns with an album full of ghosts and shadows
English singer-songwriter Steve Adey has taken six years to follow up his excellent debut album, All Things Real, and at first it’s hard to tell why. These 10 songs, simply constructed, are executed without any great fuss or ornament, but slowly their sense of depth and unhurried devotion to quality reveals itself.
The album is aptly named. Adey doesn't do party music. “Are we laughing?” is the question posed during the second song, “Laughing”. Not on Adey’s watch, we’re not. Recorded in a 19th-century Edinburgh church, this is relentlessly downbeat midnight music. When a (terrific) cover of Alasdair Roberts’ death-watch anthem “Farewell Sorrow” qualifies as a perky mid-album pick-me-up you know you’ve ventured deep into the land of ghosts and shadows.
It’s lovely, though, Adey’s rich, quavering baritone sweeping over slow, sad songs of memory and regret. So still it barely moves at all, “Just Wait Till I Get You Home” recalls The Blue Nile at their most lovelorn and bereft. Elsewhere there are echoes of emotionally coruscating US songwriters, from Mark Eitzel on “Army of One” to Josh T Pearson on the closing "Tomorrow".
“Dita Parlo”, inspired by the German actress who starred in Jean Vigo’s L’Atalante, is dramatically orchestral, while a couple of short, atmospheric instrumentals have daubs of electronic texture, but mostly these songs need little more than piano, guitar and voice to connect. It’s not one for the iPod shuffle, nor the office party. The Tower of Silence is something to immerse yourself in when the house is quiet and memories start to rise.
Subscribe to theartsdesk.com
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
To take an annual subscription now simply click here.
And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?
more New music
Norwegian improvising vocalist travels through hit songs via the subconscious
Old school folk-rockers prove they can withstand the test of time
Unhinged assault on the eardrums from the Bristol four-piece
Infectious disco tribute from a man who knows the genre inside-out
Latin rhythms mingle with a cool delivery and cerebral lyrics for a searching, substantial collection
Wallet-friendly compendium of one of Britain’s great singer-songwriters
Noel and his High Flying Birds aim for new heights without straying too near the Sun
A celebration of diversity and a historic addition to jazz’s political back catalogue
Tables turned as Fairport Convention are auditioned by their new singer
Barn-dance friendly Scandinavians find their own groove
Shiny-suited funk from the LA-Seattle supergroup
Philadelphia’s finest prove themselves to be more than the sum of their influences