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Back to the Cat

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iTunes Review

Multi-instrumentalist Barry Adamson has been composing and recording his own dark lounge noir jazz-pop for nearly 20 years. He’s lent his expertise to Nick Cave’s Bad Seeds, scored parts of David Lynch’s Lost Highway, and has been a major, if unheralded, influence on an entire generation of hipsters, from Richard Hawley to PJ Harvey. His shadowy figure — part Scott Walker, part Lee Hazlewood, part 1950s beatnik — emerges centerstage on his 2008 release Back to the Cat. Adamson immerses himself amongst the slinky nightclub horns and Hammond B-3, singing in a variety of tones and approaches. “The Beaten Side of Town” begins as a dark narrative, plainspoken and creepy. “Spend a Little Time” ramps up to a quick blues shuffle. “Shadow of Death Hotel” is an ambitious instrumental that vamps with ferocity, beginning as a horn-fueled epiphany before turning up the electric guitars and finally settling with flutes and pianos. “Walk on Fire” adds a ‘70s funk guitar. “Flight” chugs with a loose, foreboding groove, heavy on percussive flights and strong bursts of sax.  Plenty of creepiness to go around.

Customer Reviews

Superb and close to spectacular

Do not be confused by the name of the album close to Amy's back to black)) If U realized the art of Barry just now start from the hits album Murky World.

Back to the Future with Style

As fans of Barry Adamson know his releases function better as entire soundscapes than collections of great songs. Described as noirish and a throw back to 40's detective novels, they serve as introductions to dark and seductive alternate universes with Mr. Adamson as narrator and guide. Back to the Cat is no exception with one notable exception. He's handed more of the instrumental duties to dazzling musicians of all stripes while handling more of the vocals himself. The result is a recording so alive that it never sounds retro or derivative. We happily follow Barry down into his dark and unsettlingly seductive world. Though styles of music from 50 years past are prevalent this release could not have been made before now. Music technology and Mr. Adamson's remembrance allow this album to straddle eras and as a result make it timeless. This is one of the best releases of 2008. Any music collection without it is incomplete.


Born: June 1, 1958 in Moss Side, Manchester, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Barry Adamson's work as a bassist for Magazine and Nick Cave's Bad Seeds gave little indication of the complex, cinematic works he has composed as a solo artist. After leaving the Bad Seeds in 1987, Adamson decided to follow the path of film composers like John Barry, Ennio Morricone, and Bernard Herrmann, whose work had intrigued him since childhood. His first full-length album, 1989's Moss Side Story (he had released one previous EP in 1988), was a tour de force, blending post-punk, industrial,...
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