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Barry Adamson - Back To The Cat

Barry Adamson, Back To The Cat

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

MANCHESTER based artist Barry Adamson has almost a chameleon like ability to re-invent himself. In his rock days, he has worked with bands like Magazine, Visage and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. He’s also a self-confessed (and self-styled) jazz devil.

It’s the jazz side of things that inform his latest solo album [his eighth in total], Back To The Cat, as well as a little soul. At first glance, it appears frivolous and not that appealing. Opening track The Beaten Side of Town does it few favours, emerging (or rather submerging) as the type of song you might find (and avoid) in a cruise liner dinner lounge.

But give it time and there’s plenty to enjoy. Straight ‘Til Sunrise is a shimmering slice of ’60s-influenced pop that’s vocally reminiscent of The Walker Brothers, complete with pithy stabs of brass, while the spirit of Elvis is raised during the rollicking Spend A Little Time, which is hip-shaking, finger-clicking good fun.

There’s a retro ’70s haze surrounding the soulful funk of Shadow of Death Hotel, which could well have worked its way onto the soundtrack of a hip ’70s TV show (think Starsky & Hutch or Kojak), or even a Lalo Schifrin score (thanks to the horn section). While I Could Love You is a joyfully non-romantic slow-burner complete with moody lyrics such as “I saw my baby on the corner, she left me reeling when she said I could love you, but that would leave me in misery”.

Look out also for the Edwyn Collins inspired Walk On Fire, which drops a thumping beat, some nice hammond organ and quality bass, to give it some funky street cred, the dusky jazz of Flight, or the upbeat Northern soul of Civilization.

A couple of tracks feel a little self-indulgent or over-milked, such as Psycho-Sexual, but on the whole this is immense fun and worthy of widespread attention.

Download picks: Shadow of Death Hotel, Spend A Little Time, I Could Love You, Walk On Fire, Civilization

Track listing:

  1. Beaten Side Of Town
  2. Straight ‘Til Sunrise
  3. Spend A Little Time
  4. Shadow Of Death Hotel
  5. I Could Love You
  6. Walk On Fire
  7. Flight
  8. Civilization
  9. People
  10. Psycho Sexual