Adam Green
Gemstones
2005
A-



adam Green used to be in The Moldy Peaches. The mainstream knowledge of The Moldy Peaches career arc is that they were the support for The Strokes on their We’ve Going To Get Old Real Quick tour, knocked out a couple of novelty indie tunes, and then split-up. The mainstream is the stupid.

Firstly, here’s the biographical detail that all reviews should feature in the first 100 words: The Moldy Peaches haven’t split up. Granted, they’ve only played one gig together in the past two years, but that’s more than the majority of your favourite hip-hop cartels. Anyway, the solo material they’ve been putting out since those heady days of “Who’s Got The Crack?” are arm-breakingly strong. They also serve to point out who did what in the band. Kimya Dawson brought the eye-wateringly hurt lyrics, the emotion, the scars. Adam brought the penis jokes. But, then again, who doesn’t love a good penis joke every now and then?

“Gemstones” has some cracking genital guffawery. “Choke On A Cock,” like Rammstein’s “Amerika,” works both as a general purpose “I, as a musician, have an intelligent and salient point to make criticising the foreign policy of George Walker Bush” song, and as a satire of the lyrical inanity pedalled by the Rock Against Bush axis. “I would dance on NBC and say “George Bush shook hands with me… and then I’d go and choke on a cock.” Later on in the song, Johnny Depp phones him up to give him props on being America’s best musician, and then the song turns into him being highly critical of some girl called “Rebecca.” Really, when Stylus runs its eagerly anticipated “I Love the 00s” feature in 2011, we’ll be using “Choke On A Cock” to sum up 2004 in 98 seconds.

It’s not just puerility. Actually, none of it is puerility at all. The ignorant may pay a brief listen to the opening lines of “Carolina” (“Carolina, she’s from Texas, red bricks drop from her vagina”), shudder briefly at the thought of the female genitalia, and pass the whole thing off as a Beavis and Butthead-esque display of immaturity. However, there’s a reason why people still talk with massive fondness of Beavis and Butthead episodes from 10 years back, but very few will stop around the water cooler for a discussion of Question Time instalments from 1995. It’s because there’s a lot more behind the rude words to be discovered only by people with the perception and persistence to discover. So, “Carolina,” far from being a piece of scatological sniggering, is actually about coming to terms with a girlfriend’s abortion. Deeper than dirty water.

This is the other thing. Those of you that have fallen in and out of love with Pavement and Beck during your time on this planet must realise one thing: when both of those artists were at their peak, their output consisted solely of pretty boy indie posturing. Adam Green is pretty, posturing, and more indie than praising Annie for being “good pop music.” “Dostoevsky” is rhymed with “Fab Moretti” and the line “he’s the singer of the Beachwood Sparks” is dropped without shame. In a time of haircut indie, it’s nice to see than an indie artist can cultivate his locks to a Farah Fawcett degree of precision and still find time to put a good album out.

Simply put, either you’ll love this album or not “get” it. It’s too good an album for you to not like if you understand it. The best thing about it isn’t just that it’s hard to imagine anyone being as conceited (and rightfully so) to put out an album full of crypticism and raised eyebrows, but like Nellie McKay, that he gets bored during songs, changes tempos at random, introduces new characters or topic strands, or just straight-up pulls a “Bohemian Rhapsody” on us and tacks on a whole new song just ten seconds before the end.

So, yes, he did tour with The Strokes. He toured with the guys who started the great indie-saturation of 2001-2007. And now he’s leading the struggle, armed with an acoustic guitar and a variety of euphemisms for the female reproductive system. Get it.



Reviewed by: Dom Passantino
Reviewed on: 2005-02-03
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