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7.5

Everybody Friends Now
Singing Adams

Label: Records Records Records
Release date: 2011-04-04

Steven Adams was the frontman and songwriter with the criminally underappreciated indie-rock/alt-country band, The Broken Family Band. He returns to us here fronting The Singing Adams and it's the first set of songs he's released since The Broken Family Band's swansong, Please and Thank You in 2009.

Everybody Friends Now isn't a massive departure from his former band's material, although it's definitely closer to albums like Hello Love than their earlier countrified musings. This might disappoint some who hoped for another Cold Water Songs but it's hardly fair to expect a retread of past glories. Although, if you don't own Cold Water Songs, Welcome Home Loser and the gloriously sinful Jesus Songs, go and track them down, they're really great albums. Anyway, that was the past and in the words of Adams himself on the BFB's first departure into rock territory, the brilliantly titled Balls album, it's all over.

Everybody Friends Now is an album about moving on, an album filled with an infectious giddiness and endearing positivity. This point's made from the start with the brass arrangements, gang vocals and chirpy disposition of opening track 'Move On'. Second track and first single, 'I Need Your Mind', has a slightly darker, tense rhythm until the wonderfully euphoric chorus kicks in, "Here it comes now, it's your future…"

The fantastic, fuzzy alt-rock of 'Bird on the Wing' is next with its sweetly melancholic melody and Adams tender lyricism: "Look up, the bird is on the wing, it's just yourself you can't escape from… but you don't have to be alone" It's up there with his finest songs and that's really saying something. Other highlights include the urgent indie-tastic gallop of 'Spit in the Sea', the sentimental 'Sit and Wait' and the domestic heartbreak of closing ballad, 'Married Woman'.

There's no denying Adams' talent but the rest of the Singing Adams are much more than a backing band for his songs. The band's brand of jangly, melodic indie-rock isn't a million miles away from Adams' former band yet it definitely exudes a freshness and lightness of touch which carries the album through its 11 indie-pop nuggets. The points where the band all sing at once, as on the end of 'I Need Your Mind', are particularly great. The addition of brass on tracks like the dewy eyed 'Giving It All Away' round the band's sound off perfectly too.

Overall, it's fantastic to have Adams back, a truly original songwriter; you can recognise one of his songs almost instantly. There's no great push for invention or change here but it's more than made up for by the bands jaunty enthusiasm and Adams' knack for a catchy indie-pop tune. At times I found myself craving some of Adams' darker compositions ('You Were a Nightmare') and his former group's witty, cynical, tongue-in-cheek approach ('Honest Man's Blues') and, yes, I do kind of miss the country tunes; but that's just me getting all nostalgic. Everybody Friends Now is a well needed shot of indie positivity, so chuck those awful White Lies albums out and get this. Splendid stuff.

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