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Adam Holmes and the EmbersAdam Holmes and the Embers
Album: Brighter Still
Label: Gogar
Tracks: 9

Adam Holmes' second album is another strong album of his, with a greater variety of musical genres coming into play. The opener "When the lights go down" has a nice soul touch about it, the second one "People come, people go" works well with a bright African style rhythm and has been chosen as a single. The following "Shining Star" starts quiet and then turns into a light hearted pop song with extensive backing vocals. Number 4 and 6 again come across as soul numbers with background choirs that almost have a gospel feel to them.

It is surely good to have so much variety on an album but to me the strongest songs are the moody ones like "Nadine" and "Joanna". Both are warm, loving song full of empathy and also with a good portion of sadness in it. "Love down the line" sung with Eddi Reader likewise has a melancholic touch to it that goes along with an intensity that one is entirely drawn to. The same is true for the final song "Cutting loose", only in a purer arrangement that I personally like even better. Lyrically, this last song refers to questions about life and death which I find fascinating and did so with his first album, especially out of the eyes of someone so young.

Adam Holmes' distinctive vocals and the intensity of his expression are his particular gifts as well as his pure, almost simple (in its best meaning) song writing style all of which he can solely rely on. What he can also rely on is of course his excellent band. Moreover, the sound of the new album is perfect, warm and clear at the same time, absolutely wonderful.

Dagmar Brudnitzki