SUFJAN STEVENS THE AGE OF ADZ
Everyone’s favourite troubadour released ‘All Delighted People’ out of the blue in August. And this perplexing release started to make indie kids mouths water in preparation for a full album release just two months later. The Age of Adz (pronounced Odds). Comes five years after his fifth real studio album ‘Illinois’ (although a b-side record as well as a mixed media music piece was released as a love letter to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway). A huge departure from his orchestral familiarity, sees Stevens treading old ground and drawing influence from his all-electronic album “Enjoy Your Rabbit” and while ..Adz does still hold those orchestral sounds and tones, a blanket of electronic samples and drones surrounds the whole record. The title track is one of the crowing moments with its fuzzy distortion mixing with choral chants and woodwind sections fluttering all over the 8 minute opus. This new mix of eletronica and instrumentation follows through most notably on the song “Get Real, Get Right” where the lyrics reflect right back to the hyper-religious “Seven Swans” as he sings “I must do myself a favour and get real/Get right with the Lord”.
The last song ‘Impossible Soul’ is a multi-layered, almost schizophrenic party of many different styles like pop, rock, folk, and even disco. If features a lot of harmonising and group singing. I think I even heard some auto-tune thrown into the sound gumbo. As well Shara Nelson of My Brightest Diamond graces the song with her soulful vocal acrobatics. As the song ends it goes from being quite industrial to what we all known him best for, folky-pop with twangy guitars and percussion. A stellar album from someone who rarely disappoints and a contender for best album of the year.
Best Tracks: Futile Devices, Too Much, I Walked, Get Real Get Right, I Want to Be Well, Impossible Soul