Adam Again

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Contemporary Christian music producer and musician Gene Eugene has led the Adam Again project since 1986. This loose-knit collection of album tracks, B-sides, compilation one-offs, and rarities is supposed to serve not only as a look back at the previous 13 years, but as a way of coming to grips with the diversity and garage band politic inherent in the group's sound. For the uninitiated, Adam Again walks the strangest line in popular music: somewhere between the open-ended hookiness of R.E.M. and the blistering white-boy funk rock of Dave Matthews without the sense of self-importance. Indeed, Adam Again's sound has always walked on the apocalyptic shore as evidenced on the slow rocker "Worldwide," and especially "It's Alright." The fractured funk 'n' roll inherent on "Bad News on the Radio" echoes the out jazz stylings of Flipper and A Certain Ratio as much as it does Matthews. The syncopation and flailing distortion in the guitars calls forth a spirit that touches both desolation and rage before it resigns itself to the knowledge that the world itself can only be changed from inside oneself. "Strobe" digs deep in the groove bag, pulling out a steady 4/4 mojo that calls down the rock side of soul, and on the soul side of funk, with its knotty Bernie Worrell-esque keyboard break. The disc closes with "Relapse," a near gothic rock tune that calls down the wrath of the spirits on the faltering self, abandoning that faulty construct to the absolute Mercy of the Divine. It's so naked, so true, and so unflinchingly honest as the guitars drone their Zeppelin-esque riff that the listener begins to squirm in their seat and wonder if the Serenity Prayer shouldn't be invoked here. And perhaps that's what has made Adam Again so special for over a decade. When other Christian acts are trying to get the pose down right, these yobs toss it all to the wind and reveal themselves as a band of human beings rather than ideologues. In that way they provide a fine witness for their faith. In the rock & roll arena they are simply one of the most inventive and artfully canny bands on any scene.

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