Adage are a new band from North Carolina who I guess you would say play melodic rock with a touch of hardcore. Their songs are freighted with the usual popular mix of confession and complaint, the vocals of Justin Doyle suggesting the singer is nearer tears than tantrum.
Things begin promisingly with ‘Anymore’, a bustling but simple guitar melody, clean vocals with angry harsh counterpoints at the end of lines adding the hardcore grit. Those clean vocals soar and subside, reflecting the mix of melancholy and anger in the lyrics, a bit like a less miserable Staind. It’s okay without ever unleashing any kind of crazy – despite a chorus that begins ‘I hate you..’ this is controlled and clipped, but catchy none the less.
Next track ‘Best of’ is more melodic and has the sheen of careerist chart metal I cannot abide; it’s not as sick-making as Shinedown but that’s hardly a recommendation.
‘Hold On’ barges in on a Pantera-esque riff but then immediately sits down and puts its slippers on. The chorus is rousing but it reminds me of so many Foo Fighters songs which are played in the style of rock but don’t ever actually give you the outsider thrill of listening to music you know people will hate – it’s all too damn polite. ‘Growing Colder’ does the same as ‘Hold On’ but with added wistfulness and a hint of Nickelback. That melodic hardcore tag is hanging by a thread by now.
Things briefly pick up with ‘By Myself’, which at first sounds like a Jimmy Eat World cover despite being an original, but then somehow manages to smother any emotional heft by overdoing the vocal harmonies to the point where it begins to sound cheesy. It does feature the only guitar solo of note which tries to lift the song but then fades to a finish without any real climax.
This is polished, well written commercial rock music but it leaves me quite unmoved. To end on an adage, Robbie Robertson of The Band once said “Music should never be harmless”.