The Slow Bang
Orange Twin Records (2007)
As long as the world spins, people die, lovers love, and perhaps most importantly, lovers leave, the ballad is ne’er likely to be in short supply. You know, the songs that weave a web of sorrow and grief so thick and sweet that you would rather listen to them on repeat whilst wallowing in seemingly endless depression and burrowing in mounds of spent Kleenexes than come to your senses and move on with your life? Yeah, that’s the stuff.
6 / 10
On her Orange Twin debut, Athens, GA’s Madeline Adams gives us all a hand by populating our airspace with a batch of always pretty, and sometimes forgettable, acoustic guitar tunes. Recorded and produced by Matthew Houck, aka Misra Records recording artist Phosphorescent, the album takes on the sparse, roomy qualities of Houck’s own releases, while setting a mood and pace all its own.
After wading through solid album opener, “Sleeping Dogs,” the listener arrives at “To Hell and Back,” a beautiful, simple song, which features Adams on guitar and vocals with the ambient accompaniment of some Georgian crickets. She takes it up another notch with the next track, “Good Houses,” and Houck gives her a hand on vocals, piano, and drums. The melody is affecting and circular, and the song, as a whole, is reminiscent of Houck’s best work with Phosphorescent.
Ultimately, however, The Slow Bang fails to harness any palpable momentum, and five of the last six tracks are rather ambiguous, with the low point being the would-be-eastern-influenced romp “The Demise of Madame Butterfly.” In other words, what could’ve been a solid EP exists as a mediocre full-length that is saved from an otherwise anonymous fate by a small handful of fantastic tunes.