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Barry Adamson - Steal Away (Mute)

8 November 2021

One might assume that multi-instrumentalist, singer and composer Barry Adamson is tired about being known mainly for his work with Magazine and Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds in the eighties, when he’s had a three-plus decade solo career. But with the imminent release of his memoir Up Above the City, Down Beneath the Stars, that may not be the case. Just to remind us all that’s he still relevant, though, and not just reliving the glory days, Adamson accompanies the book’s release with Steal Away, four brand new songs.

This is the poppier side of Adamson, the one unveiled on Know Where to Run a few years back. Check out the plush backing vocals on the pure popping “Broken Moments,” the steel guitar-and-horns frosted country waltz “The Climber,” or the hopeful romanticism of the title track. This is Adamson at his sunniest. Or so it seems – “The Climber” notes that “lying in the gutter is a waste of time,” and the title of “Broken Moments” hints that not everything is as rosy as we might think. “Sundown County” throws out any notion of sunlight – the grinding blues rock suits the tale indicated by the title. Which makes sense – it wouldn’t be a record by the king of imaginary film noir soundtracks without a streak of darkness.