Barry Adamson has always been an odd character on the electronic map. Starting his career as a member of the band Magazine, and then as a founder of Nick Cave's Bad Seeds, he comes from a somewhat diverse musical background. But it wasn't until he went solo that he found his niche. Comparable perhaps only to Recoil (a fellow Mute artist), Barry composes what can only be described as soundtracks for films that never existed.
Processed drum loops, dramatic strings and soulful organ leads provide a lush and detailed supporting cast to Barry's tales of bank jobs gone wrong and a dark, twisted vision of London that has a life all its own. Matched with some of the most creative lyrics ever penned ("I've seen you hanging around, looking like a question mark...") and Barry's powerful voice, The King Of Notting Hill seems a shoe-in for the greatest Adamson album ever recorded.
But where this album fails is that it is too much of a good thing. It is not nearly as varied as his last effort, As Above, So Below, and some of the longer instrumentals can be a bit tedious to listen to. Halfway through you'll find yourself wondering if he will ever change it up a bit, but he won't. The album finds its sound quickly, and while it swings to emotional extremes, the vibe remains the same.
This is not the greatest place to start listening to Adamson. The Negro Inside Me and As Above, So Below would be much better for newbies. However, if you're a tried and tested Adamson fan, you'll dig it. But I hate to be all doom and gloom about it. It really is a strong album. Barry just needs to change things up a bit here and there.
Highlights: The Crime Scene, Whispering Streets
Artist Link: http://www.barryadamson.com