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Steve Adey - The Tower of Silence

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 13 / 9 / 2012



Steve Adey - The Tower of Silence
Label: Grand Harmonium Records
Format: CD

intro

Intense, but rewarding second album from Edinburgh-based singer-songwriter, Steve Adey


Edinburgh based Steve Adey has taken six years to follow up his debut album, the critically acclaimed ‘All Things Real’. During that time Adey released a five song EP, ‘These Resurrections’ and his music was featured in an advert for Mercedes Benz but it seemed that a full album was taking an eternity to materialise. ‘The Tower of Silence’ features ten new songs, nine Adey originals and a cover of the golden boy of folk music’s Alasdair Roberts ‘Farewell Sorrow’. Much was made of the two covers on ‘All Things Real’, Dylan’s ‘Shelter from the Storm’ and Will Oldham’s ‘I See a Darkness’ and rightly so. Adey took both songs and left his unique mark all over them. For once they were covers worth listening to, but the most surprising thing about the album was that Adey’s original songs were just as good as those covers. While Adey was, and still is it appears, pigeon holed as a folk singer (and given his choice of covers that’s not totally surprising), over the course of his two albums and handful of singles and EPs he has proven that he is so much more than that and almost in a class of his own. If any criticism can be directed at ‘The Tower of Silence’ it’s that the tracks do tend to flow into one long song, there’s a little light battling through the darkness here and there but for the most part there is little to distinguish one song from another as it’s all taken at Adey’s usual deathly pace. While this is part of the attraction in Adey’s, work for many it reduces his appeal to a very limited audience. But those who stay with this demanding music will find it ultimately rewarding. Those who fell under this talented musician’s spell with that debut album, those that understood where Adey was coming from will love this latest collection, but as ‘The Tower of Silence’ is very much a continuation of the sound that Adey introduced on ‘All Things Real’ it’s doubtful he will win over anyone who gave that debut a cursory listen and then passed it by. It’s as well that all the songs follow the same path as ‘The Tower of Silence’ is not the type of album to dip in and out of. It is best appreciated taken in one sitting, preferably in a darkened room, late at night on headphones; just close your eyes and lose yourself in Adey’s intense musical vision. The album opens with a short instrumental, just like the debut; one and a half minutes of synths and Adey manipulating tapes make it one of the lightest and most instantly appealing tracks on the album. What could have been pretentious noise in not so talented hands is actually a thing of beauty and light here. Then ‘Laughing’ introduces us to the first full-length vocal song, and immediately we’re into familiar Adey territory. Adey’s brooding, dark-brown vocals are complimented by Helena MacGlip’s ghostly background vocals while what sounds like a choir of angels float above them, creating a beautiful but eerie and wordless sound. It’s fitting that these songs were recorded in both Buccleuch Church and Greenside Church in Edinburgh, and even though some recording was carried out in Adey’s Edinburgh home the sound of the whole album has a spiritual feel. ‘Just Wait Till I Get You Home’ in which Adey’s deep vocals perfectly create a picture in your head of being isolated in the deep mid-winter is particularly impressive. A lone acoustic guitar played by Ismael Florit really adds texture to the sounds that Adey creates. It is proof yet again that Adey really is pushing boundaries with his music, and daring to go places others can only dream about. Every song on ‘The Tower of Silence’ offers up something unusual and haunting, but mention has to go to ‘With Tongues’ again with wordless vocals provided by Helena MacGlip, a beautiful but somehow strangely disturbing piece of music that it is just impossible to ignore, and ‘The Field’ again with MacGlip’s angelic vocals acting as the perfect foil to Adey’s gloomy lead. With one of Adey’s most immediate melodies the song is a highlight of the album. As with all of Adey’s music ‘The Tower of Silence’ is an album you have to live with before its real beauty can be appreciated. In an age where it appears the average attention span is less than 20 seconds there are many who will miss out on this beautiful, rewarding, but admittedly, at times, uncompromising and uncomfortable music. If ever an album was worth the little extra time needed to appreciate the beauty within, then it is ‘The Tower of Silence’.



Track Listing:-
1 A Few Seconds Have Passed
2 Laughing
3 Just Wait Till I Get You Home
4 Army Of One
5 With Tongues
6 Secret Place
7 Farewell Sorrow
8 The Field
9 Dita Parlo
10 Tomorrow


Band Links:-
http://www.steveadey.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Steve-Adey-319561066995/


Label Links:-
http://www.grandharmoniumrecords.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/GrandHarmoniumRecords



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