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Adam Green - Sixes And Sevens

Released on Rough Trade Records, 3/18/08

My favorite track on Adam Green's fifth solo record is called "Exp. 1". The song is carefully layered and patched together, just a series of riffs and vocal ideas in the same key strung together. He sings some words and has some thoughts, but the entire affair sounds like happenstance, the product of too many hours in the studio having good ideas that might not make great songs.

The next best song is called "When a Pretty Face". Here, Green's voice doesn't try to reference Cash or Bacharach or Bennett -- it just sounds great, meandering across lyrics and the ascending chords that sound immaculate. All that time tinkering in-studio pays off on the whole, as this Green record sounds thick as a Broadway soundtrack. The whole record sounds hi-fi, which isn't how I remember Green's past albums -- or his work with Kimya Dawson as the male-half of The Moldy Peaches.

As with most of the tracks, "When a Pretty Face" doesn't connect a lot of emotional dots. Green croons more than usual on this record, but he's no Sinatra (both in timbre and in stature). His goofy allusions draw more attention to the limitations of his voice, though it's nice that the music sounds so full.

In this way Green seems a bit mood-less -- when he's not making a pop culture reference or being especially surreal, he sounds like a hack Leonard Cohen. Not to say I wouldn't want to hang out with him, that's the critical paradox: we disassemble the art we're trying to be a part of. In Green's case, I'd like to understand the eccentricity from the source, from the moment it occurs to him to add a xylophone solo or a yodel or a harmonized doo-wop choir. There's a real excitement to these songs, it's just spread out across too many little experiments.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars