x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Adam Green: Minor Love

Green finally manages to combine his two sides and come up with a collection of songs that proves his following is rightly earned.

Adam Green's career has been a riddle up to this point. He started out in the short-lived New York anti-folk group the Moldy Peaches making a studiedly naive punk racket with Kimya Dawson, latterly of Juno fame. His breakthrough solo album, Friends of Mine, came as a not altogether pleasant surprise - a collection of lush orchestral pop tunes with Green crooning pungent doggerel over the top. He followed it with a string of records in the same vein: Vegas show-band sounds and surreal, épater la bourgeoisie lyrics delivered in a burnished baritone. They won him a smallish cult, though Germans are said to think highly of him - and rightly so. Even at his most obnoxious there is poetry beneath the puerility. And now, on his sixth solo outing, the two sides of his career are finally starting to cohere. Minor Love is smaller and cheaper than anything Green has released in quite a few years - he reportedly played most of the instruments and it sounds like he recorded parts of it on a Dictaphone. But there's a generosity to it, too: the outrageous one-liners have been replaced by cartoon hard-luck stories, humanising the persona or at least complicating it in enjoyable ways. Indeed, the murder ballad Boss Inside is actively moving if it catches you on the right day - new territory for Green. Meanwhile, the tunes are as shamelessly winsome as anything he has put his name to. If there's room in your heart for the depraved son of Lou Reed and Neil Diamond, well, that's how Green comes off these days.