Swear I'm not Paul: Album Review: Ryan Adams - Orion

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Friday, June 4, 2010

Album Review: Ryan Adams - Orion

If you follow the comings and goings of the maverick born David Ryan Adams, you'll probably have heard of his new metal-country album. "Oh Ryan..." Yeah, that's what it's called. It's a clever pun, and is a great title for the record. Not because you'll find yourself with your head in your hands after listening to it, but for the fact that it's sort of a sci-fi concept album. (Sort of - you can never make sweeping statements when Ryan Adams is concerned.)

I'm not sure if this was the proposed 2006 album Star Wars, but it does come from that time, and is produced by the man who helmed Easy Tiger, Jamie Candiloro, and is an album full of songs like 'Halloweenhead'. So if you thought that was the weak link on ET, stay away from this one. On the other hand, if you loved that tune and are looking for something louder and shoutier, Orion is definitely for you.

It's hard to know what to make of the record. It's nothing like Heartbreaker, Gold, or any of his previous releases. It is however, like some of the online stuff he streamed in 2006-2007 under various ridiculous monikers: Sad Dracula, Rhoda Ro, and Warren Peace. In actual fact, one of the songs here, 'Fire and Ice' was originally featured on a Warren Peace album (yeah, that name is another pun too). It was probably the best Warren Peace song too.

The songs are quick sub-three minute rock riots where Adams screams nonsense lyrics about galaxies, intergalactic wars, metal spiders, and all the rest of that stuff you'll find in a teenager's science fiction wet dream. It would be terrible only for the fact that it's actually great fun. It's hilarious, but also so much better than anything a teenager could concoct. Some of the riffs are among Adams' best guitarwork. 'Signal Fade' has a fantastic solo, and 'Disappyramid' is musically wonderful from the outset.

By now, you should have an inkling whether you want to hear this album or not. Unfortunately, only a limited number of vinyl copies were pressed, and it hasn't been released on CD. So you may have to find other means to get your hands on it. Have a look at eBay, I'm sure you can get really ripped off for a copy on there.

If you're in two minds about buying the record for a hiked-up price, then this should sway you. There's a song halfway through the album called 'Ghorgon, Master of War', and yes, it's every bit as good as it sounds.

Overall, this is actually worth listening to. It's not for everyone, and will probably only appeal to hardcore Ryan Adams fans. But it's great that's he's back releasing music. Hopefully that trend will continue and we'll get more unreleased albums, like Darkbreaker, or perhaps even that track-by-track cover album of the Strokes' Is This It. Maybe he'll go back into the studio and do something totally new. Nobody knows. I doubt he does himself. We'll just have to wait and see.

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