One-time Broken Family Band frontman forges ahead with new group.
Ian Winwood 2011
There is a song on the oddly titled Everybody Friends Now, the first album from the Steven Adams-led Singing Adams, titled The Old Days that sums up not just the life of the group’s vocalist but also pretty much his entire philosophical approach to songwriting. To a musical backbeat that is so melancholic that it makes Lyle Lovett sound like Chas 'n' Dave, Adams tells the listener that he "used to be someone, I had a band, we had it all planned out, but now I’ve seen my flame splutter out, I’ve got no guts, I’ve got no heart…"
Adams did indeed have a band, although saying they had a plan may be stating things a bit strongly. Nevertheless, at the start of the century The Broken Family Band were the turn-du-jour of a many a grown-up music critic, combining modern country with English wit inside songs that sounded as if they were recorded in the two hours between the opening of the recording studio and first orders at the pub. In many ways, they were irresistible. Given that during his last group’s concerts Adams used to joke about he and his bandmates having to get up for their day jobs the next morning, it’s surely with considerable wryness that these times are spoken of here as being salad days.
But although Everybody Friends Now is not as instantly delicious as such Broken Family Band outings as Cold Water Songs and The King Will Build a Disco, it is in many ways equally rewarding, and in time may prove to be even more so. The music still has the space to comfortably house couplets such as "Tattered gulls are circling above your street / You’re looking out on a morning that smells of defeat" – that from the quite lovely Red Carpet – but altogether the confident and often unusual bent of the songwriting means that this is far more than the work of a man with a quick wit and a liking for a quick pint. In the fine tradition of such wry observers of life as American Music Club’s Mark Eitzel and England’s own Paul Heaton, this is music that not only has much to say but also has a delightful way of saying it.