Who knew that beating within the chest of Adem Illhan, bass player for the British post-rock trio Fridge, was the heart of a lovelorn English troubadour. On his mesmerizing debut, Homesongs, Adem offers up ten lessons in how home recording doesn't have to sound like crap for it to be cool. The artist wrote, performed, and produced the record with an ear for sonic detail and an obvious love for the fireplace warmth of a closely recorded acoustic guitar, making even the most challenging tracks accessible. Illhan fills his tales of comfort, regret, and acceptance with hammered autoharps, organs, accordions, and anything else that emits sound with an understanding of the song's needs, never overplaying or introducing an instrument for its own sake. Banjo-led rounds ("One in a Million") and hypnotic takes on fleeting moments ("Statued") are confidently delivered with a hint of wistfulness, in a voice that can bury itself in whispers and then slide into a falsetto when you least expect it, invoking fellow indie rockers M. Ward, or Colin Meloy of the Decemberists -- with a real English accent. Adem has crafted a record that's both quiet and defiant, and that's hard to do without coming off as calculating, but Homesongs blurs the line between sunrise and sunset, failing to commit to either part of the day, resulting in a rush of sound that fits right in anywhere.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger