Adam Marsland has been through a lot the past couple of years. While making his latest double-disc album Go West, Marsland’s brother died, his sister-in-law was murdered, and right in the middle of producing this album, thieves broke into his apartment and stole almost everything he used to record. His desktop and laptop computers, recording interface, Telecaster, Korg synthesizer, guitar, and keyboard, everything except the backups of his recordings were gone. The only good news is that about a month later a man and his son bought half of his gear at a swap meet and after some research, found that all of it had been stolen from Marsland. They returned all of it and refused any compensation.
Now that’s some baggage to bring to the recording table, and Marsland does carry it throughout the two-disc, 23-song set that is, as of right now, his magnum opus. Opening with “Intro: Standing in Chicago,” the subtle groove and bassline camouflage the lyrical depth that Marsland is so good at. Lyrics like “Standing in Chicago/ The midpoint of east and west/ That’s as far as either of us got/ Maybe that’s for the best/ You thought you’d found your place/ I guess we’ll never know,” sneak up on you and leave little wrinkles in your brain. You won’t forget them.
Marsland does a lot more experimenting with various musical styles, all with excellent results. He does club beats with “I Don’t Wanna Dance With You,” which upon the initial listen sounds like a generic club song, until you hear him sing the biting line “God only knows how many Romeos will try to penetrate the girl and her disguise.” “1 in 4” is a killer rock song with Marsland shredding his vocal cords especially on lines like “If I could have ten minutes with her old man/ I swear I’d take him out with my bare hands.”
The title track is the best and a stellar portrayal of feeling lost with who you are and going through life with “no solace… from the flowers of desolation in your mind.”
And that’s just the first disc! The second disc includes the pop gem “When I Lied to Everyone” and the funky “Two Children in a Bed” which is an absolutely killer duet with soul legend Evie Sands. If you have ever had a bitter breakup and seen the other one go and get married, then you need to listen to this song with lyrics like “You’re like a trainwreck in a dress… in your pursuit of unhappiness” and “Don’t you feel power, don’t you feel good/ Huffin’ and puffin’ up his manhood.” Revenge never felt so good.
Adam Marsland thrives on making insanely catchy songs that you can’t get out of your head. Then one day, you figure out what the lyrics are and that’s when they become cemented and he becomes one of those artists that you continue to listen to and anticipate their next releases. Even with everything he went through the past couple of years, he was still able to make his best album to date.
Karma Frog Records: www.karmafrog.com