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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Adam Rich

You Can't Escape Life

Review by Lisa Palmeno

Adam Rich’s You Can’t Escape Life is a progressive/alternative offspring of the punk era. Rich has pinned power pop down to science. You Can’t Escape Life is edgy and diverse, and Rich’s cast of collaborators work well together. Rich’s guitar and bass work is both innovative and classic, as he draws upon influences from the ‘70s and ‘80s but manages to create something fresh and youthful. The bandleader wrote all songs except “Vultures” and “Meteorology,” which were brought in by Jared Levengood, who also sings on a number of tracks. Other vocalists are Derek Deprator, Xela, Andy Elias, and Brian May (not to be confused with the Brian May of Queen fame). The lyrics are inventive, the concepts interesting, and the studio work impressive. With Rich on drums, bass, and guitar on certain tracks, the band obviously made good use of studio techniques. The recording, mixing and mastering are clean and professional, and the overall product has an underground texture to it.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Frizzhead
Rich starts out the CD with an instrumental that often sounds a lot like, medieval Christmas music. Little plucky guitar chords give off light, uplifting intermissions to metal guitar progressions backed by solid drums and bass.
Perfect (Featuring Derek DePrator)
DePrator wails “I’m not perfect, but what can you do?” Slightly off key and despotic, he captures the punk essence perfectly. The rock beat, sliding guitar scales, and speeding tempo all come together to make terrific party music.
You Can't Escape Life (Featuring Xela)
On this relaxed and bluesy piece, Xela sounds like Bob Dylan as he drones about the miseries of real life. It’s well-written, both lyrically and instrumentally, and the guitar parts alone make it worth the listen. The references to the Ramones are a testament to their musical forerunners.
Vultures (Featuring Jared Levengood)
Levengood’s matter-of-fact voice is well-suited to this hyper poetic work about making love. The steady backbeat and timing are reminiscent of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. “Vultures” sports the best lyrics on the album.
Glittery Eyes (Featuring Andy Elias)
“Glittery Eyes” is a mellifluous piece about childhood sweethearts whose love lasts into adulthood. The beginning of the song has Celtic folk overtones. Rich’s pleasant guitar work and Elias’s harmonic vocals will make this one a favorite with the ladies.
Go Away Mr. Telemarketer (Featuring Brian May)
Rich provides guitar, bass and drums on this short-and-to-the-point post-punk pick about the frustration of dealing with too many telemarketers. Brian May is featured on vocals, and the “telemarketers” voices keep “interrupting” with various offers.
Whirling Dirvish
“…Dirvish” is an instrumental that showcases Rich’s versatility on drums, bass and lead guitar.
Meteorology (Featuring Jared Levengood)
The fear of the unknown is examined in this apprehensive pondering about the moment life ends. Syncopated drums, an eerie guitar and repetitive vocals on “when will I die” all come together to express every man’s issue. “Is a car gonna drive by, swallowed up by the blue sky?” is rapped in, bringing gangsta land into the mix for a brief visit.
Big Blue
Delicate, breathy acoustic guitar meanderings are backed by subtle synthesizer on this instrumental. “Big Blue” makes good music for meditation and relaxation.
Huh
“Huh” is high-strung with modern metal influences. A racing drum intro leads into mercurial chords. Slowing down to a dull pull in the center, the original thematic material is re-established in the last third of the instrumental.
 
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