Sunday, March 07, 2010

Donen dusted

Hostage to fortune, this whole heading scheme.

It must have been a week when we felt poetically and sardonically inclined, as we've been listening a lot to Adam Donen's new album Immortality, released this week. This is Donen's third release to be featured here; the first, in August 2007, was as leader of Alexandria Quartet, the first band to send badges with their CD, a record which we described as something that "either deals in poetic folk balladry or... trousers-on-fire railing against the day's ills in a style that reminds us of the Pogues and Whipping Boy." By October 2008 he'd formed Adam Donen and the Drought, whose As Our Parents Slowly Turn To Clay album came packed in a 32 page poetry booklet and we thought "clearly has a way with an elliptical allegories, equal parts cathartic howls and brooding mea culpas... and arranging it into a judiciously powered ragged folk-rock that variously recalls Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, the Waterboys, Whipping Boy and latter day British Sea Power... For something created with such exacting standards for what seems to be being painted as some sort of Coleridge of lit-rock setting, it's well worth investigating."

It's rather a surprise, then, that Immortality is post-grime ringtone R&B with a guest sixteen bars from Tinchy Stryder and co-vocal appearances from N-Dubz' Tulisa and an ex-Sugababe.

Just joking, it's yet more highly accomplished, poetically charged, mini-chamber orchestral brooding about love - it's mostly a breakup album underneath all the lyrical allusive qualities - and against modern nature. This time Donen has shrugged off the band set-up and makes his cracked vocal and folky guitar the very centrepiece no matter what range of instruments surround him, a fine work of self-production. And there's very little wrong with any of that.

Adam Donen - It's Over Now

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