ADULT. - The Way Things Fall

An album which makes for difficult listening and is hard to engage with.

Rating:

It’s unfair and skin deep to throw veteran electroclash outfit ADULT. in with the undeniably cliched (but really quite funny) image of the bedroom synthpunk duo knocking out contrived melodies, hollow drums and droll vocals. But it’s hard not to.

‘The Way Things Fall’ is the Detroit duo’s fifth album and oozes confidence and experience. Opener ‘Heartbreak’ sets the tone for the rest of the album with striving, purposeful drums, a haunting, plodding synth hook and flat, unnerving vocals. It, like the rest of the record, is full of tension and unease. Screeching licks and space age effects create a horrorshow atmosphere and make for an incredibly uncomfortable listening appearance. But if you let your mind wander, a vaguely comedic one too.

The album progresses with little variety, each song following a similar blueprint and pace. For all the innovation of such electronica, it lacks a spark to make you sit up and take notice and it is easy to be bored half-way through. ‘At The End Of It All’ stands out for not leading with the same base synth sound proffered throughout previous tracks, but again the rhythm offers little change. Likewise with the longer effort ‘We Will Rest’ in which ADULT. allow the music to break from the template and breathe a bit more, free from the otherwise marching authority of the synth and drum partnership.

But on the whole, the album makes for difficult listening and it’s hard to engage with. The positives seem to be more abstract than actually audible: the confidence and boldness of such a deadpan electronica record does not make up for the fact it’s impenetrable on hearing it.