Quietly brilliant acoustic music in the vein of Damien Rice or Nick Drake, with a little Jose Gonzalez picking thrown in. He mumbled like Bon Iver but the soaring, brilliant harmonies are all his own. Devour this EP then go find his already re-cased full length!
Bowerbirds’ third LP is notably more rounded and full. Though this duo turned hippie band has always cultivated a minimalist vision, weaving ideas of nature and belonging into quiet, clear melodies; The Clearing is just a bit more sonically diverse and bombastic. Rich and guttural yet characteristically restrained, these songs are not for the jaded but for the young and curious- those unwary of zealous odes where the melancholic and the impassioned emotions meet back on the other side. A few songs on the album burn bright and shine on their own, but if experience is any guide, the true gems of a Bowerbirds record will likely take time to unearth themselves.
Though Ashes and Fire has some stunning acoustic gems and extensive help from the beautiful Norah Jones, Adams doesn’t quite hold up to his pre-hiatus candor and clarity. The album is a without a doubt a folk-rock, easy-listening dream reminiscent of Heartbreaker (his solo debut), but it doesn’t quite have the bite and consistent intensity I’ve come to expect. Adams traded his wild, cocaine-addicted past for his nuptials to Mandy Moore- probably a good life decision but I’m not sure it did much for his music. Still, the album is pretty great and highly recommended.