Updated: Feb 3
Eve Adams seems to have reinvented herself as some sort of 21st century Ella Fitzgerald, with the black and white photography to match. Her voice is soulful but also sensitive to softer folk influences like Sybille Baier, and the accompanying arrangements are nuanced, fully supporting her as a performer. It’s beautiful, spiritual, and has a wholesome warmth at its centre that can’t go amiss.
And to be fair to her, Adams isn’t against having some fun either. Some of the songs have more than their fair share of tongue-in-cheek pastiche. A Walk in the Park ups the cheese with Pink Panther-esque clicks and plodding stepwise piano bass. The Dying Light mixes a bluesy guitar riff with lo-fi indie aesthetics, bringing her vocals almost back to the twenty-first century. But despite these antics, most of the songs avoid explicit genre-hopping, instead focussing on a ‘yearning for the past through nostalgia-tinted glasses’, something that soon becomes the basis for this whole album.
Adams sings with a slight tearful tremor in her voice at times, wistful but at peace to it all (e.g. Blues Look the Same). Her voice melts into the texture of the vivid arrangements that surround her. She has a habit of fading at the end of a phrase into the ether, rather than just stopping, as if you can’t tell where she ends and the rest of the music starts. Slight coatings of reverb make the overall sound appear almost luminescent.
Metal Bird for example sees her voice continually building up and becoming consumed by its own echo, played against a restrained electric guitar backing. Her vocals shift between background and foreground with ease, joining the ambience behind her when it gets too much. The result is a number of dreamy, playful tunes that are child-like and innocent, but with something more despondent at their core.
The arrangements never sound straightforward, being often stark, allowing everything to breathe in soulful awareness of their surroundings. For example, the string writing in My Only Dream is brilliant. The stereo and panning highlight the different players at different times like a spotlight; as if they’re fading in and out of the atmosphere, natural and unforced, engulfing the listener all around. Alongside the warmth of a breathy saxophone, it’s music that feels at peace with itself, not demanding your attention but inviting you in passively, and you’d be a fool not to accept.
This album’s one of the luckiest finds from an artist who desperately deserves to be better known, not that that’s stopped her of course. There’s a professional sound to everything and an uncompromised vision that she achieves without a second’s hesitation. It’s beautiful, soulful and brilliantly done. In a word; what more can you want?