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Peter Bradley Adams
Gather Up
Mouse In The Moon Records

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 it is.

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.

-Embo Blake

Track Listing:
1. Unreconciled
2. Teresa
3. Lay Your Head Down
4. One Foot Down
5. Chant
6. Little Stranger
7. Upside Down
8. He Sang
9. Queen Of Hearts
10. Gather Up
11. One Picture

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