I’m not sure what to say about Adage and their debut EP, “Defined.”
I want to tell you that it’s good. It’s well written, heartfelt, the musicianship and performance are more than solid — everything that I think good music should have is here.
My only objective complaint is some minor issues on the sound engineering side of things. I had to force myself to listen to it, though, and I’m afraid that some of you may react the same way. What’s sad is that the problem may not be Adage’s fault.
Any of you who were even remotely musically aware 22 years ago know the story. Rock had become stale and repetitive, the soundscape choked with music defined by one formula, albums and release schedules by another, and it had all just stopped feeling like music. And as soon as we were able to start finding stuff that didn’t follow the rules — and really, that’s the only rule that rock should ever have: it can never be made by someone who follows the rules — we took everything that sounded, looked, even smelled like the hair metal and power ballads of the eighties and threw it all right out the window. We hated them and we hated ourselves for loving them and it took us ten years to say “wait, yeah, things got ridiculous but there were a few of those bands that had some real talent.”
That’s really the problem that Adage has. They’re great, but it’s hard to get your mind past the fact that, stylistically, there’s something about them that reminds you of the unstoppable glut of horrid, formulaic songs from identical sounding “active rock” bands that you hear when you turn on what’s left of rock radio.
Adage, if you’re reading this (yeah, right)… you know those heavy breaks you’re throwing in between the parts that you’re hoping get you on the radio? DO THAT! Not exactly that every time, but break the mold more. You want to rock? Don’t say yessir before anyone even lays hold of you in hopes of catching some suit’s attention.
This problem needs a name. Adage has ‘Warrant Syndrome.’ I don’t recommend rushing out and spending money on this one. Go check them out on YouTube first. If you’re still capable of being engaged by their sound, there’s a lot here to love. If more bands in this stylistic ballpark were as good as this, radio rock might not even make me want to vomit.
I don’t think it will be making its way onto my playlist, but I’ll be waiting for their follow-up to see if they’ve evolved into something more interesting.