Adam Schmitt

Illiterature

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Adam Schmitt's debut, 1991's World So Bright, was a sunny piece of D.I.Y. power pop, as catchy and solidly written as anything by his Champaign-Urbana compatriots Ric Menck and Paul Chastain. Unfortunately, a record that could have been a decent seller on an indie was a stiff on a major label, although it received good reviews. It seems likely that Schmitt then fell into the same post-Nevermind trap that the Posies hit with 1992's Frosting on the Beater: Illiterature is a louder, noisier record than World So Bright, which is not in itself a bad thing, but the grunge-style guitars obscure the songs' inherent charms, and the pointless elongation of several tracks -- three songs that would be perfectly fine at three minutes drone on for six or seven -- sounds like Schmitt was trying to pad the album to a reasonable length. Despite those flaws and the generally depressive tone of the lyrics, Schmitt slips in a few gems, like the opening rocker, "Just Listen," and the Big Star-like bitterness of "Thanks for Showing." Following this album's commercial failure, Reprise dropped Schmitt; although he signed with his local indie, Parasol, soon after, his next release didn't come out until 2001.

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