“Destination” – Barry Adamson
Melody has a built-in grace. This is why it works so well with allies—such as volume and density and drive—that do not have any inherent grace at all. Not to say that there is anything wrong with a song that is simply and only beautiful. But in the long run I believe we are enhanced by juxtapositions, blends, syntheses. Note for instance in your own lives how the most interesting people you know are likely those willing to roam beyond the comforts of one well-worn path. Songs can be the same way.
“Destination” is thick and gnarly from the get-go, and Adamson, a refugee from the heart of the U.K. post-punk scene, initially adds his portentous baritone in a speak-singing mode that magnifies the overall murk. But: you can hear the croon in his voice aching to get out at the end of each line, can’t you? And he unfurls it at last at 0:49; and now, without being quite sure how we got here, we are in the middle of a fabulous melody. Adamson has a deep, reverberant voice but he keeps things moving, avoiding the trap voices such as his often fall into in which they kind of wallow in their own richness. The vibe is brisk and crisp; we lose now the buzzing guitar and get a rollicking piano in its place. The piano, half-crazed, kind of steals the show shortly thereafter. It’s not where I expected the song to go but I like it. A lead guitar wrestles the spotlight the next time the chorus sweeps through but the piano returns to accompany the dense instrumental coda that closes out this oddly satisfying composition.
Adamson was bass player in the seminal British band Magazine through both its four original years and also in the 21st-century reunion (although he left the band before it recorded its long-awaited fifth album, this year). He played briefly in the Buzzcocks as well, and landed in the Bad Seeds with Nick Cave for a few years in the mid-’80s. Adamson released the first of eight smokey, adventurous solo albums in 1988 and has also worked since then on a number of film soundtracks. “Destination” is the first available track for an as-yet unnamed album set for release in 2012. MP3 once again via the resourceful Magnet Magazine.