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Peter Bradley Adams
Between Us
Mishara Music
www.peterbradleyadams.com


There has been a strong current running within the boundaries of the three previous Peter Bradley Adams records. The thematic elements have dealt with break-ups, rebuilding relationships, and recovery of one's self… not necessarily in that order. His latest release, Between Us, is filled with the same types of musical beauty and the relaxed lyrical struggle that have filled his previous outings, but the lack of a common driving theme seems extent. This new record is more cinematic, taking in pieces of life and exploring them on their own ground, rather than developing them through a common emotional state.

That said, Between Us is an amazing record and one that has a vibe and overall feel that remains distinctly Adams'. The softly picked acoustic guitar of "I May Not Let Go" that opens the record is an Adams' trademark and the immediate feeling is of quiet reflection and hanging with an old friend. These songs are all familiar and comfortable from the beginning, and the messages slowly bleed through the comfort of the sound. Throbbing drums and echoing strings haunt the introduction to "My Love Is My Love" where it seems Adams is taking stock of how exactly he has lived his life and how his interactions with his surroundings and the people in them have influenced his decisions. There is a soft, strong cadence in the vocal melody that lifts the deeply-produced instruments to a higher level while maintaining a low feel. This song is one of the greatest songs I have heard in years, and has a power and passion that has been rare to find in much of modern music.

Things lighten up a bit in timbre, if not tempo, on tracks like "Don't Rest Your Weight On Me Now" and "Katy", although the subject matter remains cloudy and obscured by tangential references. Adams is at his best when leading you to believe you have pinned down what he's talking about in a song, only to listen to it again and hear something completely different in the lyrics. There are touches of hope in these songs, and deeply rooted beds of pain that are waiting to be healed, whether actively being sought out or simply being affected as people touch the singer's life. Some of the most stand-out tracks fall near the end of the record; "Waltz For The Faithless" recalls Eastmountainsouth, especially as the female backing vocals attain the same beautiful touch that much of that early music contained and the music has a bit less production and a touch more earthy folkiness imbedded within. "Emily's Rain" is one of the best songs Adams has written to date. It contains much of what he has done before, especially musically with its soft acoustic guitars and lush string beds, but Adams has outdone himself lyrically. "She will raise the windows high, let the light come streaming in/ though the wind will burn her eyes, she will learn to breathe again/ all her life she's looked up to the clouds/ for the rain to fall and break up this fallow ground…"

As Peter sings on the opening track, "If I hold you tonight, I may not let go" there is a hopeful flavor to the opening strains of Between Us. Perhaps I was mistaken originally, and what this record holds for its theme is one of rebuilding… re-realizing exactly what life and love may hold for each of us.

-Embo Blake

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