Joe Adhemar has released a new album. Let’s break it down shall we?
“The Synesthete” available on Bandcamp
- Found Out
This is a great track to kick off the album with, very bluesy, I like the way vocals have a slight delay to it, the main guitar riff has chromatic notes in there, and that really appeals to the musician in me, if you want to catch someone’s attention play notes that they don’t expect. And this works. This, according to Joe is all about Liz Truss, when she took over the prime ministerial role of the UK in 2022, the second of two to hold that post and the shortest lived UK prime minister in history.
Good choice for an album opener.
- Revolution By #
This is where the song gets angry. A stab at social media in general, and well deserved with everything that’s come to light in the past few years and it takes a swipe at everyone….
I love the second second set of vocals on this, and the drums as well, especially the snare… watch out for the analogue synth solo at 1:56, very cleverly played! In fact it’s just brilliant!
This song is a barely disguised jab at the establishment.
“Take a long look at all these posh boys
Having a great laugh at your expense
Instead of you lot punching up
Now I don’t wanna sound too boomer
But the revolution won’t be on BBC 3
It takes some real momentum
Or this freak show is how it always will be.”
This revolution will not be televised indeed.
Definitely my favourite track on the album so far.
- Hopper (Feat. Skylu)
Being a fan of Skylu already (Check out their track “Foreign Concept”), this song takes us back to the 80s with the bleeps and bloops, and the vocals really work well together, they blend together really nicely, this is a remix by a very elusive squirrel…. Invisible Squirrel.
Great work on this one.
Deep into synthesiser territory we go with this one, and I like how the vocals sit right up front, the harmony choice are interesting because it switches between low and high, and it’s very well arranged. Very Peter Gabriel if I dare suggest it. I think this is my favourite track on the album. I like the drums especially on this it sounds like brushes, but I’m not too sure….
Back to rock territory here, but the synthesiser noise at the beginning tells me that it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. There’s a Hammond organ deployed here, so I get the feeling there’s a bit of a retro influence to this album overall, it’s experimental but polished experimental if that makes sense. I love the way Hammond organ is used rhythmically here going as a counter point to the guitar as well as providing the higher melody as Joe’s singing in a lower register for the majority of the song. Very prog rock this one!
- Blocked Artifice
I wonder what this would sound like with a drum n bass remix? This is dark in tone, Joe doubles up his vocals in unison and singing an octave above each other, sometimes straining off that to give it a really nice harmony, this is probably my favourite track vocal wise on the album! I really like the harmonies around the line “this is now your legacy” and how it builds up.
- Make A Sound
Now we are past the halfway point, I see Joe’s an all round artist – producer, singer/songwriter, musician. And this song shines through on all four fronts.
He’s written his truth in the lyrics here and it’s the doubt that every artist goes through – is it any good? Will it land with my listeners?
Right here in this verse…
If a song is written
Does it make a sound?
Wait for the day when your listeners come here
You can hide your treasure
But will you be found?
May be the way when your listeners come by
This is my second favourite vocal performance. Possibly joint favourite track on the album.
The tempo is taken down slightly, and Joe drops his pitch and gets even more reflective lyrics wise, but we will come to that in a minute.
What I really want to comment on though was the mix on this track, Joe‘s a very capable mix engineer and that’s obvious on this. I’m listening to this on my AirPods and the way the guitars are mixed and panned from left to right is very disconcerting but at the same time.. pretty awesome really!
I love the way the bass notes are played on two notes at the same time too harmonising with each other.
The vocal arrangement at 2:34 onward caught my ear because because they come in multiple layers then at around 3:49 the main vocals take over giving you a “round” effect.
“If you’re going to write about love
Or about your broken heart
If you’re going to talk about your pain
You’re gotta know just where to start
Don’t sound like you’re the victim
And don’t make her sound so cold
Behind every little story
Will be the one we haven’t told.”
That last line is one of my favourites on the album lyric wise.
- You Wouldn’t Know
I like the Wurlitzer on this and the very psychedelic chord progression on this. It kind of gives me a late Beatles pre Abbey Road vibe for some reason, around the 1:31 mark.
But the best bit for me is at 3:06 where there’s a brilliant bit of musicianship, all the instruments plus Joe’s voice get together play an outro that floored me.
Wow!!! With triplets.
No no no no no.
Let me reiterate that.
Damn… yeah. That’s it. My favourite track on the album overall.
Back to the synths for this one. The vocals are heavily processed. The drums are heavy but simple. Kick and snare lead the way on this, along with a couple of layered arpeggiated synths. I like the sound of the vocals and it shows Joe’s versatility to be able to change things up in the production process. It’s very 80s melody wise and I like that.
- The Crows
This is a protest song, and also by the sounds of it prophetic too. Written at the beginning of 2020 with the onset of lockdowns.
“Why are they so still?
Are they waiting for the thrill
Of our creeping isolation?
Why are they so still?
So bitter is the pill
To enjoy our desolation.”
That’s the lyric right there.
The drums are big in the mix, I like how this song grooves along, and on album of strong songs, this is brilliant.
The samples of crows disturbing!
- We Hear The Colours.
Bossa nova rhythm, psychedelic chords are back again. This track talks about the title. Synethesia in layman’s terms is being able to see sound in colours – a few people can do this, and one established artist that I know has it is Pharrell. It can also be associated with other senses it can be pretty cool as artists have been able to produce paintings through hearing sounds.
This song is in two halves because it changes around 2:35 – keys and feel. The repetition of “We feel alone in the monochrome” on a big build up just works and makes this song anthemic.
What a rollercoaster!
So who’s Joe Adhemar?
Well, he’s a producer, singer songwriter and remixer from London. He came on my radar via a small community of indie musicians on fresh on the net and on twitter, and the more I hear from him, the more I like him.