Giant drums gallop out of a misty melody in “Give It to Me.” Dusty string harmonies frame a lush lead vocal from Calling Adam himself in “Come on Home.” Big guitars and even bigger sax sensualities come flying in all direction in “Boston Song.” Gorgeous rhythm meets a gruff melodic thrust for what feels like the first time in “Amy,” and though the other songs on The Year of My Manifestation – “Once in a Lifetime,” the balladic “You Will Always Be in My Memory,” “Love Is True,” “Distinguish Yourself Through Clouds of Smoke” and “In the Game We All Lose” among them – each present us with a different set of reasons to fall in love with Calling Adam this spring, it isn’t easy to pick a favorite track in the twelve-composition collection that is his all-new studio effort. There’s no shortage of interesting singer/songwriters coming out of the woodwork in the American underground right now, but of all the albums I’ve reviewed lately, this record stands out as being one of the most diversely-appointed of the lot.
MORE ON CALLING ADAM: callingadam.com/the-year-of-my-manifestation/
There’s a lot of duality to the poetic approach Calling Adam takes to The Year of My Manifestation, and particularly in the songs “Sunday in the Morning Sun” and “Distinguish Yourself Through Clouds of Smoke,” that I haven’t been able to find in a lot of mainstream pop/rock out this season, and while it’s hardly the only distinguishable element of evocation in this LP, it’s certainly one of the more prominent even to novice music critics.
The harmonies in “Once in a Lifetime,” “Come on Home” and “Love Is True” are undeniably telling us as much of a story as any of the lyrics in the other songs do, and to some extent, I think there’s an argument to be made that Calling Adam intentionally made this record to be as multi-interpretive as possible. I don’t think it was a play for approval from the masses as much as it was a desire to relate to as many listeners as possible (as is further evidenced by the somewhat gritty overtone to the production quality in “Boston Song,” “Amy” and “Give It to Me” just to name a few notable examples), which is admirable when taking into account how self-centered a lot of pop music has felt in the last half-decade.
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Calling Adam has been quietly building up quite the reputation in the underground these last four years, and in The Year of My Manifestation, I think he makes the creative quantum leap necessary for an indie artist to find a place in the hierarchy of mainstream players. He’s showing off a lot of maturity in these songs, with some tracks – like “Sunday in the Morning Sun” – demonstrating a multidimensionality I definitely want him to exploit a little more than he is here in the future.
This is a musician who flexes the most muscle when he’s driving home a complicated compositional blueprint, and in this LP, I believe he proves that he can roll with the best in the game.