sun 14/07/2024

Album: Barry Adamson - Cut to Black | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Barry Adamson - Cut to Black

Album: Barry Adamson - Cut to Black

The coolest Mancunian returns with a lesson in style

The cat is back

Always looking dapper and always sounding cool, Barry Adamson is a man who nevertheless seems to be perpetually of another time. Giving off the vibes of a one-man Rat Pack with a dash of the legendary Lee Hazelwood, his music certainly doesn’t have much in common with mainstream tastes.

The former Magazine bassist and Bad Seed’s new album is a stylish and charismatic collection that draws on gospel, classic soul, blues and jazz through a widescreen cinematic lens that may be mature, but certainly isn’t square. Louche but sharp, Cut to Black is by turns atmospheric and soulful but wholly witty and irreverent. Who else, for example, would have the chutzpah to sing “I am the Devil / I am your mother”, as he does on “Please Don’t Call on Me” or to call one of his tunes “Amen White Jesus”?

Kicking off with the tale of R&B legend Sam Cooke’s untimely demise at the wrong end of motel manager Elisa Boyer’s shotgun, “The Last Words of Sam Cooke” is a dose of exuberant 60s soul with plenty of up-tempo zing, while “Demon Lover” lays on the sleezy jazz-funk vibes for a steamy hip-swinging groove. “These Would be the Blues” has something of his former employer, Nick Cave about it with plenty of gospel-influenced but earthy stylings and a choir demanding the listener to “lay your burden down”. “Was It a Dream?”, however, is soaked in atmospheric psychedelic chamber pop with a shuffling gait.

Cut to Black stays close to what we’ve come to expect from Barry Adamson when he’s not composing film scores. It may be unlikely to end up knocking at the higher echelons of the charts any time soon but it’s an album with some serious poise that certainly merits a good deal of attention.

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