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Friday, November 27, 2009

Adrian Belew: Here


1) May 1, 1990; 2) I See You; 3) Survival In The Wild; 4) Fly; 5) Never Enough; 6) Peace On Earth; 7) Burned By The Fire We Make; 8) Dream Life; 9) Here; 10) Brave New World; 11) Futurevision; 12) Postcard From Holland.

Here concludes Belew's quadrilogy of pop artefacts on a pretty high note — still fairly distant from the semi-experimental rocking mode of Young Lions, but equally restrained in the matter of direct Beatles imitations. In fact, I only count one, even if it is the most Beatlish of them all: 'I See You', as Merseybeaty as it gets, straightahead McCartney on the verses and Lennon on the middle-eights and Harrison on the reversed guitar solos. As usual, it is fun, catchy, and a wee bit awkward and phony. I love it.

Lyrically, Here is quite straightforward. All the songs are (a) about Adrian; (b) about ecology; (c) about Adrian and ecology. And if something does not fit into one of these three categories right away, it will eventually. The messages are also quite clear: (a) Adrian is in love and feeling hap­py; (b) the ecology is in a mess and getting worse; (c) Adrian's knowledge of the ecology being in a mess and getting worse will not prevent him from being in love and feeling happy. (Say, my feel­ngs exactly. Maybe I ought to record a Beatles ripoff album, too.)

'May 1, 1990' is Belew at his prettiest — a little research shows that this was the day he met his wife Martha — and at his sincerest, a great slab of angelic idealism painted as power pop. But highlights are around every corner: 'Burned By The Fire We Make' could win Greenpeace quite a few new converts were they to adopt it as their anthem, 'Never Enough' uses a simple droning gui­tar riff to convey the mood of 'addiction to love' to great effect, 'Dream Life' is a charming acoustic serenade that is all but impossible to dislike or ignore, and 'Fly' features far more comp­lex guitar picking techniques than all of The Acoustic Adrian Belew put together behind a small wall of psychedelic effects — funny enough, the song, despite all of its psychedelic trimmings, is essentially about fear of flying.

In fact, cut for cut, Here may be even stronger than Young Lions, except the highs are not nearly as high (nothing really reaches the heights of ecstasy provided by 'Pretty Pink Rose'; perhaps Be­lew should consider dragging Mr. Ziggy into the studio a bit more often). That the record, just like the previous three, went down unnoticed by the public at large and scorned by professional King Crimson fans, only goes to show what kind of an unprofessional opinion I hold on both. It is high time history butted in and carried out the proper justice; in the meantime, I can only hold my thumbs up one more time and pray that, some day before getting pie in the sky, Adrian gives himself another chance at recording something like this.

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