steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

The Keith John Adams

"Unclever" CD

Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records

Genre: indie pop, pop/rock

July 29 2008

Unclever may be the most straightforward rock album the HHBTM label has churned out to date. And with that in mind, it's also one of the damned catchiest.

Keith John Adams has been going it solo since a debut seven-inch in 2001, although his music career dates back even further to his time in late-90s "art-skiffle" band Zuno Men. Alone, he has produced two albums, and this record sees him back in a band setting (hence The Keith John Adams.) His collaborators are Kay Stanton and Jason NeSmith of the lovely Casper and the Cookies, another HHBTM act.

On Unclever, Adams shuffles between revved-up garage-rock and juicy power-pop. Indeed, these twelve songs are so saturated in hooks you could stock a pirate ship with them. The fun starts with the bright party-rock of "Bed," which is a tad Jetty but still quirkily infectious - its energized guitars and gushy chorus make it a joy to bounce around to. Other highlights include irresistible "Sorry That I Love You Badly" with its stickily jerky guitar riffs and sublimely boppy "Elizabeth Hodgkinson Warzone," as well as rare acoustic reprieve "Yesterday Morning." But to isolate particular songs is to neglect other gems - "Nothing," bluesy "Now That I Found You," and perfect pop nugget "Nobody Loves Me" are also worthy of note. Indeed, this twelve track album is rife with expert pop songwriting, and Adams' professionally snappy lyrical style complements the songs famously. And although several of these tracks follow identical formulas, the sheer quality of these hooks makes them continuously exciting. In fact, I can't recall the last review CD I found so entertaining; Unclever is the best piece of pop I've encountered in recent memory. Very recommended.

keith john adams' myspace


youuuuuuuutube!: looking around the planet video

Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 12 tracks, 35:23, distributed by the label, released 2007]