Everyone needs a change of scene and Adam Crosland’s return to recording after the demise of Babies vs. Rabies has been as swift as the music has been unexpected. With a string of bands behind him that really pushed the boundary of wall of noise as an art form, the last thing you would expect would be and album of warped and whimsical folk-horror songs. Then again never one to pander to expectations, I guess this is exactly what we should have seen coming.
I say folk-horror in that even when Adam is toying with the standard singer-songwriter formats, there is something dark and disturbing at the root of it. The seemingly childlike innocence and fairy-tale nature of some of the lyrical content lies somewhere between Jackanory and turning a corner in a hotel corridor and bumping into the two sisters from The Shinning. Musically songs such as A Mid-Summer Nights Requiem evokes Mercury Rev trying to capture their ornate sounds during a power cut, no synths, no clever tricks, just hand carved instruments strung with barbed wire inspired by dreams brought on by eating too much cheese before bedtime.
The five track e.p. of newly and re-recorded songs is given added bonus by the fact that it is accompanied by Fusty Books a collection of 8 older songs that are no less beguiling and off-kilter.
I guess the songs make more sense when you look at Adams other creative ventures, particularly in paint. A follower of the Billy Childish Stuckist manifesto of art of spiritual value regardless of style, subject or medium, his own works have a similar naivety and confrontational simplicity and this could be their soundtrack.
If you think that the singer-songwriter genre is one overburdened with wannabes and copyists, then Sing For Your Life will come as a breath of…well, if not fresh, certainly strange, intoxicating and earthy air blowing from the woods that your mother always warned you not to play in.