It’s tricky writing about another musician’s album in a critical way. This is the first album review I’ve written in over 10 years, since college. And I stopped writing them in college because at a certain point I didn’t think it was fair to be critical or dismissive of someone else’s art, even if it was something I disliked.
But it’s easy to write about something you’re excited about. And it’s really easy to recognize that Adam Faucett has something you can’t fake – soul. Soul isn’t just the ability to hit the notes you want and sing with feeling. It’s a slippery eel. You can’t really define it, but you know if someone has it or not.
Who: Adam Faucett / High Magic / Family History
When: 10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28, 2014
Where: JR’s Lightbulb Club, 19 N. Block Ave.
More: $5 / 18+ / Facebook event
And it’s easy to get excited about Adam Faucett’s new album, Blind Water Finds Blind Water, even if it is your buddy’s new album and you’re rooting for him. It’s easy because it’s actually as close-to-perfect as anything I’ve heard in a long while. I’ve listened to this album over 30 times now and this is easily Faucett’s best work. This is Sam Cooke filtered through Nirvana, Howlin’ Wolf having a beer with Hank Williams.
And if you’re not already familiar with Arkansas’ truckstop poet laureate, this is a great jumping-on point. While each of his past albums has had a perfect song (“Lipgloss” on The Great Basking Shark, “T-Rex T-Shirt” on More Like a Temple) this is a fully realized album, ten solid songs that don’t lose you along the way.
Faucett has always been the real deal, and maybe part of having soul means having already lived what you sing about, but he’s definitely grown into his talents. He knows how to wield his powerful voice, when to sing in his fragile falsetto and when to drag it through the gravel and the transitions between the two are effortless.
But he’s not a one-trick pony, either. He’s not just another great singer with terrible lyrics. He knows how to write his way out of a bathroom stall and he’s not the type of songwriter who sacrifices melody and accessibility for overly-literary lyrics. On “Melanie” he sings “I know the way the world works. You get bored and then you get hurt” and it’s catchy as all hell.
The slow-burn “Walking Home Late” will have you pressing the repeat button. Strings and toms build beneath finger-picked guitar and the first line is simple, but we’ve all been there– “Walking home late with you on my mind,” which he follows with “I don’t care if all of them fucked kids, up and mug me, and take all I have” and maybe some of us know about that kind of drunk love.
It’s tempting to go through each song and tell you what there is to love about it. Like the delicate piano-based “Killer on Staten Island” where you can hear Faucett lick his lips between lines. Or how relentlessly he tosses off one great line after another on the anthemic album closer “Rock Ain’t Gold.”
But I’ll stop there.
Blind Water Finds Blind Water comes out March 11 on Last Chance Records ( Pre-order here), but he’ll be playing songs from the album Friday, Feb. 28 at JR’s Lightbulb Club with locals High Magic and Family History. The show is $5, open to ages 18 and up, and starts at 10 p.m.