Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Adam Rich's genre-hopping songwriting spans punk, metal, jazz and pop

December 24, 2009

Adam Rich‘s You Can’t Escape Life is a unique amalgam of punk, metal, pop and rock. It’s not specifically any of these genres; it takes ideas and moods from each genre and sticks them in the others. At its best the album unleashes some really unique and interesting songwriting; at it’s worst, it’s still an interesting experiment.

Instrumental opener “Frizzhead” takes the melodic ideas associated with metal and slaps them into as close to a pop song structure as you can get while still being instrumental. It’s one of the most intriguing tracks of the album, as the melody sticks precisely because it’s out of its usual field of mega-distorted guitars. “Perfect” is an Offspring-esque pop-punk song, down to the gang vocals, but it has a guitar solo and rhythmic breakdown, which is much more common to, you know, metal.  The title track drops next, and it’s a guitar pop song. It has occasional jarring riffs (the punk equivalent of the massive palm mute from “Creep”?), and develops a menacing undertone part of the way through the track.

The tracks continue through the course of the album, combining disparate genres in odd ways, seemingly just to see what would happen. The good news is that it works more often than not; even Rich’s experiment in country-esque sounds (“Glittery Eyes”) is entirely enjoyable. This is an incredible voucher of Rich’s instrumental prowess, as Rich’s scope is almost ridiculously large. For pete’s sake, “Big Blue” is a jazz bass and guitar meditation in the vein of Victor Wooten. And it’s still enjoyable!

This album is not like anything you’ve ever heard before. If you like musical experiments, you’d be well to pick this up. No genre escapes Rich’s genre-hopping songwriting, even though the predominant genres are rock and punk. It’s not for everyone, but it’s certainly got chops. I can’t escape the pull of You Can’t Escape Life.

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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