wed 20/08/2014

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

'The Tower of Silence': aptly named

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.

It's something to immerse yourself in when the house is quiet and memories start to rise

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