Album Review: Adam French – Face to Face EP

By on Friday, 29th April 2016 at 12:00 pm
 

Adam French EP coverThe Communion New Faces Tour is in full swing this week, and one of the hottest artists on the lineup is Congleton singer/songwriter Adam French. Ahead of the Communion tour, French was signed to Virgin EMI and was featured by BBC Introducing from Stoke during a stop in New York City on his recent trip to America. French was travelling in America to promote his new EP ‘Face to Face’, which has already received radio play in the UK by Huw Stephens on BBC Radio 1.

French’s distinctive husky singing voice makes a forceful first impact on the EP’s title track, with the eponymous lyric in the song’s opening line “I’m face to face, telling everybody what I want to say”. A deep groove and propulsive rhythm create a strong hook under the repeated chorus “I give you that feeling / for you to embrace / so when you look at us / there’s a smile on your face”.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/WcYQkNHStGQ[/youtube]

‘Face to Face’ is followed by the stark guitar intro of the EP’s first single ‘Euthanasia’, which underscores the once-again evocative opening lines “I guess I never was and never will be / built to last or yours to keep”. An insistent, rolling keyboard line propels the tempo under the song’s brooding chorus, and the restrained drum beat builds a very palpable tension through the bridge and into the unresolved final repeat.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IKhD1qtN58[/youtube]

‘The Optimist’ features some of Adam French’s most evocative, if not particularly optimistic, lyric verses, such as “I’m a flare in the sun / I’m the damage that’s been done / I’m a ghost in the night / I’m the dark that’s shading out the light”. A light underscoring of strings in the instrumental arrangement adds depth and grows to prominence as the song ends, but it feels somehow unresolved, never quite reaching the potential of its emotional intensity. Halting tribal rhythms underscore the predatory final track ‘Hunter’, as French’s lyrics become more overtly aggressive. The thick rasp of his voice is particularly effective in the savage lyric “you’re preying on the hunter / he’s coming for you”, which leads into the fast shuffle of the chilling chorus, “I get the feeling that I could tear you apart / blood will be beating away from your heart / so I sink my teeth right in”.

The ‘Face to Face’ EP, as a whole, is immediate and assertive, packing a quick and concise one-two punch with its dramatic rhythms and French’s gripping vocals. The dynamic and emotional development of the songs is somewhat truncated, leaving me with the feeling that French’s songwriting and/or production could use a bit of fine-tuning, but his passion and intensity will undoubtedly make a sharp impression in live performance, attracting attention from potential new fans as well as already interested listeners.

7/10

Adam French’s new EP ‘Face to Face’ is available now on Virgin EMI Records. TGTF’s previous coverage of French, including our Bands to Watch feature from last summer, is collected right back here.

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