Monday, 5 November 2012

ADAM ISAAC – ALBUM REVIEW


Adam Isaac – Train Tracks (One Track Records)
Adam Isaac - Train Tracks

Just to get this out of the way straight away, yes this is the Adam Isaac that some of you may have seen on the Voice making a geriatric Welshman spin around in his chair like a confused pensioner on Boxing day. But let’s face it, these TV talent shows are just a way for artists who already have a back catalogue to get some extra exposure because large scale broadcasting companies won’t back new talent so let’s not prejudge the music shall we? Isaac is a good looking chap but, again, that doesn't preclude him from having any talent does it – just look at Dave Grohl.

Opening track ‘Carry You Through’ is a sweeping, piano lead track that has the potential to sour and swoop through a range of emotions. ‘She’s A Star’ is a soft-rock ballad that would fit perfectly on the soundtrack of a film during that scene where the heroine stops letting everybody put her down and decides to fight for herself for once. There’s a very 90s American Indie feel about ‘Would You Believe It’ and ‘From The Skies’ has the earnest qualities of an ex-boyband member trying to go it solo – I’m looking at you Mark Owen. There’s no denying that Adam Isaac is a talented musician and has surrounded himself with equally talented performers but there does seem a certain spark missing in these songs. It’s not that the album lacks variety; the cod-funk of ‘Show Off’ is a Robbie Williams singing with Red Hot Chili Peppers strut through the mind of an egomaniac and ‘Some Kind Of Animal’ sees Isaac exploring his inner rock-star in the way that Muse did on their first recordings but with less success. No, it’s more that the songs feel like they've been created by one of those fake bands that always play at the prom in American High School dramas like Dawson’s Creek. All the melodies are very soaring with evocative pianos and quiet bits in the middle so that the main characters can finally kiss but it doesn't feel real. I can’t imagine how this music would sound live as the production quality is so clean that you don’t get a sense of any rawness or honesty.

Now don’t go misunderstanding me, this isn't a straight out slating of Adam Isaac. I think he genuinely has some talent but I’m just not sure it’s being used in the right way. You see, in the U.S. I think Adam would be huge by now, such is their penchant for the more earnest side of Indie-Rock but to hear this brand of music coming from an Englishman just doesn't sound quite right. Blame my cynical ears if you will but when he sings “I just wanna be myself” in ‘Be Myself’ it just reminds me of an angry teenager rather than someone genuinely battling with issues of self-image, self-identity and self-loathing – the wonderfully harmonious backing vocals and 80s hair metal guitar solo don’t help as it’s harder to hear the pain when it’s layered in so many layers of sound. There is hope though, album closer, ‘You Don’t Know’, has some genuinely interesting arrangements and melodies running through it and perhaps suggests a slightly more innovative direction for the singer in the future. If I had to give one bit of advice, and Christ knows why anybody would ask, I would steer Adam Isaac away from The Voice and suggest he goes off for a while to find his own voice.

More information: http://www.adamisaac.com/

Live Dates:
November 9th – Bunters, Truro
November 10th – Live & Unleashed @ Sailer’s, Newquay
November 17th – Torquay Town Centre, Christmas Lights Switch On
November 22nd – Exeter Princesshay, Christmas Lights Switch On

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