Honestly, I don't really see why the moniker change from EastMountainSouth
to simply using his given name
Peter Adams was basically
that band, with a female co-singer, and now on his solo release, he
is once more the band with a female co-singer
kind of. There
is a revolving cast of characters, and not just one female vocalist,
who join in to make this record the amazing piece of pop-folk that
In the tradition of EastMountainSouth, Gather Up is filled
with heavily orchestrated and brilliantly produced semi-folky pieces
of music that speak about the common things in life. Heartbreak and
joy, setback and triumph are all covered in Adams' music, and done
so in a melancholy way that somehow calms the soul and brings peace.
"Unreconciled" is a perfect example of the kind of magic
that Adams is capable of producing; the track is throbbing bass, atmospheric
guitars and crystal vocals that writhe with emotion more than simply
sing. "Lay Your Head Down" is piano heavy brilliance; a
dark song, autumnal in nature, that oozes a strong emotional commitment.
"One Foot Down" is a pleasant new-folk pop song laced with
cool electric piano and crisp drums that simply screams to be included
on a WB television program. "One Foot Down" is one of the
strongest songs on Gather Up, appearing to be made up of what
would appear to be the aural equivalent of the golden ratio. "Little
Stranger" is a simple piano song, spare in its arrangement, that
recalls the finer slow moments of Glen Phillips' career; the
song has the same deep conviction and resonant vocal lines that many
of Phillips' songs have maintained throughout the years.
"He Sang" is a semi-spiritual exploration, while the slide/tenor
work on "Queen Of Hearts" is nothing short of brilliant.
"Gather Up" is a simple prayer for the invisible masses,
the dispossessed of the modern world, which brings Adams' compassion
and political vision to the fore. The culmination of the record truly
arrives on "One Picture", a stark ballad that bears a melodic
resemblance to the Iron And Wine & Calexico masterwork
"Prison On Route 41". Trading in steel guitar for piano,
"One Picture" is a down-tempo gem, with an immediately likeable
vocal melody that nicely counters the sparse, yet somehow full, arrangement.
Come to think of it, Sam Beam and Peter Adams should be friends;
they both have that melancholic twist in their music that makes for
great down-time songs. Additionally, one of the most interesting bits
of information is that Gather Up was mastered by and played
on by Alexi Murdoch, who has his own unique brand of lo-fi
slo-fi acoustic folk music to purvey. It only makes sense that these
two masters of the downplayed beautiful song would be buddies and
co-conspirators in the world of music. Now if we could get Murdoch
to do his record, we'd be in the money
and have one more great
record to go alongside Gather Up.
3. Lay Your Head Down
4. One Foot Down
6. Little Stranger
7. Upside Down
8. He Sang
9. Queen Of Hearts
10. Gather Up
11. One Picture
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