The mercurial Ryan Adams is always chasing his muse in whatever direction it takes him and this time it is back to the electric guitar with strong rock trappings contrasting the acoustic Americana of Ashes & Fire. Heavily reverbed chords ring out (courtesy of his favourite Princeton amps) somewhere between Johnny Marr and Tom Petty making this sound like a more upbeat, brighter cousin to his Love is Hell album. If played on acoustic guitar these would sound like pure Adams songs so it is testament to his playing and self-production that he has shaped them into 70s and often 80s-tinged west coast rock and pop. The songs still bristle with an emotive moodiness on ‘Gimme Something Good’ and ‘Stay With Me’ while he pulls out a deadset classic Adams tear-jerker on the tough and tender ‘My Wrecking Ball’. Some of the Americana diehards will scratch their heads and scurry back to Heartbreaker to get their Adams fix while those who embrace the musically free-range version of him will find plenty of Adams gold here.
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