‘Where Do I Begin’ – One Adam One

4 stars (out of 5)


‘Where Do I Begin’ is a perfect example of the way digitisation and the internet has changed the music business. The conventional business wouldn’t know how to deal with it; five songs (OK, six if you count the no-swearing version of ‘Living Between the Lines’) is too much for an EP and not enough for an album (unless they’re eight-minute prog rock epics). Cutting out the major label bureaucracy means that if you have five great songs that hang together well, you can get it to the market fairly easily and call it a mini album. That’s exactly what Adam Reichmann and Todd Schnitzer have done with their debut as One Adam One.

The album’s almost a two-man show with Reichmann and Schnitzer singing and playing everything apart from some background vocals from Stephanie Stewart and a bit of baritone guitar from John Horton. Two things defining the album are the layers of instruments and vocals created by producer Todd Schnitzer and the fragile, vulnerable vocal of Adam Reichmann, at times on the edge of cracking completely, combining to create a beautiful melancholy feel across the five songs using all of the country/Americana palette (including pedal steel) and even a bit of harpsichord. The layering of tracks and use of reverb create an other-worldly feel that emphasises the melancholy style of the slow tempos and the vulnerability of the lead vocals.

Apart from the uptempo ‘Cold Murmurs’ with its driving tempo, lovely harmonies and maybe a hint of Tom Petty’s ‘Running Down a Dream’. It’s a song of renewal and optimism that offers a vivid contrast to the more downbeat songs that dominate the album. The opening song, the appropriately titled ‘Where Do I Begin’, builds from a gentle strummed acoustic intro to a full band arrangement with synths as the lyrics tell a story of hopelessness and helplessness after a broken relationship, while the closer, ‘Platte River’, is a slow, organ-driven, piece of nostalgia for a lost place, time and relationship.

‘Hollywood Ending’ has an arrangement that builds to a big finish as the lyrics explore the gulf between real life and the media presentation of life; it’s powerful stuff. Finally, ‘Living Between the Lines’ (my personal favourite) has an ominous reverbed guitar intro before Adam Reichmann’s vocal comes in the higher end of his range, almost cracking at times. The song tells the story of the unsung and unnoticed who do all of the things that we take for granted. The chorus is absolutely gorgeous.

‘Where Do I Begin’ is five great songs, arranged cleverly to enhance the melancholy content of the songs and, ultimately, the upbeat sense of rebirth in ‘Cold Murmurs’. It may only be five songs, but it creates a sense of sadness, anger and nostalgia before taking a more positive turn. The album is a lovely snapshot of the genesis of One Adam One; I’m hoping there’s a lot more to come.

‘Where Do I Begin’ is released on Die Trying Records in the UK on Friday March 31st.

Don’t just take my word for it, here’s the video for ‘Living Between the Lines’:

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