Love and Other Planets
First Appeared in The Music Box, January 2007, Volume 14, #1
Written by John Metzger
Adem the one word moniker for British singer/songwriter Adem Ilhan has a fondness for concept albums. His latest effort Love and Other Planets follows in the footsteps of his debut Homesongs with one exception: Instead of exploring the introspective facets of domestic life, he now has turned his attention toward a much wider landscape. Throughout the set, he scours the heavens for answers to the questions that tug at his heartstrings.
"If we received a warning call, would we change at all?," Adem ponders on Love and Other Planets opening track Warning Call. Allowing his imagination to run wild, he conjures images of a post-apocalyptic Earth from the perspective of a creature from another celestial body. Meanwhile, the remainder of the set is devoted to his search for signs of life as well as emotional connection.
Shifting from the hymn-like presence of Love and Other Planets to the star-dappled glitter of You and Moon, the music Adem concocts to support his words is suitably fragile, hushed, and filled with ponderous sorrow. The problem, however, is that the 12 tracks on Love and Other Planets are nothing more than variations upon a single concept, and while the results frequently are quite lovely, they also never move beyond the refrains that Adem borrows from Radiohead and Jeff Buckley.
As Love and Other Planets progresses, the material increasingly begins to sound rather formulaic, and instead of feeling warm and intimate, the songs wind up exuding an air of cold insularity. Although Adem attempts to dress up his compositions in an array of electronic textures, his melodies inevitably become lost within the bubbles and pops of his own personal deep space. Consequently, its only when he resists the urge to muddy the waters of his quiet, lonely, folk-imbued ruminations that the potency of his compositions is fully revealed.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2007 The Music Box