Saddle Creek | Adam Haworth Stephens | Reviews


Column 287: CD Reviews of Tim Kasher, A.H. Stephens, Azure Ray, Land of Talk…

Author: Tim McMahan
09/09/2010 | Lazy-i | | Album Review
I write this crammed into a window seat flying straight into the heart of a hurricane named Earl, but I'm not worried. NYC will protect me. It always has. So if there's a sense of impending dread throughout these five reviews a look at the hottest indie release of the year, along with four new, strong albums from our friends at Saddle Creek Records I blame the weather and anticipation of my long-deserved vacation (or demise). See you on the other side of the storm.

Adam Haworth Stephens, We Live on Cliffs (Saddle Creek) AHS is half of Two Gallants, the singing/guitar playing half. We love 2G songs for their reckless drunken sea-shanty style mixed with wry story telling sort of like an American version of Pogues meets Gordon Lightfoot. Well, the sea balladeering is long gone on this album. Instead, AHS has opted for a more streamlined, straightforward, AOR approach both in the songwriting and arrangements. In fact, the second track, "Second Mind," creeps dangerously close to Jack Johnson territory. My take: This solo effort was an opportunity for Stephens to turn things down, smooth them out and try for a more peaceful, easy, mainstream feeling. When he does turn it up, like on driver "Elderwoods," he can't help but hold the leash a bit too tightly. The result is a pleasant record that will makes 2G fans yearn for a return to that drunken, piss-soaked pub by the sea.


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We Live on Cliffs

We Live on Cliffs

LP / CD / MP3