Last year Adam Green released Gemstones, his first solo album after ending his partnership with Kimya Dawson in The Moldy Peaches. That album was a motley concoction of toilet humour and lounge-lizard chic that suggested we may have a 21st century Scott Walker on our hands. While Gemstones may have been short on depth, what carried it was its bizarre wit, pleasant little tunes and Adam’s deep, drawly voice.
Jacket Full Of Danger is less disgusting lyrically, and proves Green has matured a little, but not much. Excellent opener Pay The Toll finds Green’s melodic gifts still intact. While his twisted sense of fun will never allow him to be a romantic hero, it is striking when he does address relationship issues, such as in this track where the line “How many drugs does it take to get you out of my mind?” reveals much about how Adam Green deals with a broken heart.
However (there is always a however with Adam Green it seems: there is something desperately irritating for everything very brilliant), he seems hung up on women to the extent that he invites accusations of misogyny. Jacket Full Of Danger contains a cast of female characters that is not all that attractive: whores, factory women, bald women, women who throw away his drugs. Green’s response to this world of depraved femininity is, as he remarks in the heavy and dense Hairy Women, “You know I want to bone you”.
While Gemstones was an exercise in melodic charm (despite the lyrical gross-out); his sophomore effort sounds like he has returned to listening to the likes of The Ramones, The Velvet Underground and The Stooges. The ominous strings of C-Birds is followed by jungle chanting reminiscent of the latter’s We Will Fall. This is one of those desperately irritating moments.
However (see?), Cast A Shadow provides a slice of jangly sixties pop glee that The Hollies might have recorded, while Nat King Cole, the first single from the album, is a groovy and bluesy couple of minutes of Green at his caustic best that evokes The Doors when Jim Morrison got fat and his voice changed. That’s right, Adam Green sounds like the fat Jim Morrison. Green allies himself further with the Lizard King with songs like Drugs (“I like to do drugs, I like to have drugs”).
However, Green lacks Morrison’s poetic proclivity to take his art seriously. The lush production of his music is reminiscent of Phil Spector and the rat-pack crooners. This combined with the piquant nature of his lyrics makes the whole package difficult to take seriously coming from this anti-folk brat. Green will never tug at your heart strings because every note and every word is tinged with mocking irony. Just like Pride And Prejudice. Adam Green the Jane Austen of 2006 anyone?