Ryan Adams — 1984 REVIEW

Pax AM Records

There’s really no excuse if you’re not listening to Ryan Adams by now. One of the most accessible and consistent singer-songwriters around, he’s dropping a new LP every couple years on top of vinyl exclusive releases to ease fans over until his next record. The ferocious, short lived punk number 1984 is No. 2 in Pax AM’s 2014 7” series, and the amount of music Adams packed onto a lowly little ‘45 is tremendous – There’s ten songs on this, and despite a collective runtime of thirteen minutes, 1984 never actually feels crowded. Described by Adams as his “homage to the halcyon days of the earliest releases from Dischord, SST, Touch & Go and their ilk,” 1984 packs a savage punch – Striking the chords of raw, garage punk spirit reminiscent of early Replacements such as Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out The Trash and the veracity of early Dischord bands such as Teen Idles, while the traditionally alt-country virtuoso wails against fierce, thudded out drums and angst stained, low-fi guitars. This shouldn’t surprise anyone familiar with the Adams, a passionate fan of black metal, hardcore, and punk, but if this is only the second piece of material you’ve spun since his solo debut Heartbreaker, you’re in for a kick to the teeth.


The songs spanning 1984 are impressively short — By the end of “Push It Away”, I was bewildered at how relentless, wild, and utterly superb this mini-LP is. Due         to the minimal runtime on each song, there’s little distinction between the beginning and end of tracks, so 1984 makes a bit of a rushed first impression, but by a       couple of spins, these songs become so charming in a relentless, shattered-eardrums way that you won’t walk away from this “7 treat without a grin. There’s no           use discussing the mechanics, because 1984 is pure, steadfast 80’s punk; rigorous, tuned down guitars moaning out enraged chords and filthy leads, along with           static, ambient vocals that don’t rest until they’ve burnt off your eyelashes. Really, the lack of diversity on these songs is what makes them so native to it’s roots in       early Dischord, SST, and Touch & Go — Despite appearing sonically repetitive to those not familiar with the genre.

Fans of Ryan Adams and traditional, ruthless punk will be able to breathe in 1984 along with their daily dose of oxygen, while anyone else need not apply. Be sure     to look out for Adams’ softer and more contemplative self titled dropping on September 9.


  Score: B+


You can buy 1984 on iTunes here.


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