Adam Ant ‘Adam Ant Is The Blueblack Hussar In Marrying the Gunner’s Daughter’ – album review

Adam Ant ‘Adam Ant Is the Blueblack Hussar In Marrying the Gunner’s Daughter’ (Blueblack Hussar Records)
CD/LP/DL
Released 21st January 2013

8/10

So after all the talk and after all the speculation Adam finally delivers the album.

It’s as long and sprawling and off the wall as its title suggests and is a brilliantly uncompromising affair that has far more in common with the complex early days of Adam And The Ants of varying line ups and styles.

This is more a work of art than a work of chart and sounds all the better for it. Interestingly it’s released on his own label- Adam is back from the trough of despair and is now running the show. A major label probably wouldn’t go near a record like this which is GOOD THING – after all commerce makes cowards of us all.
Very much in the no holds barred creative spirit of 1977, this is a record that is raw, confessional and uncompromising but also has moments of blissful beauty and gentle songs. It’s fantastically eccentric and wildly imaginative and also sounds really electric. This is the second coming of the pre pop star Adam from a time when his music was equally commercial but slightly out of sync with the flabby mainstream and that, as we well know, is where the best stuff always lies. Oh, and it’s also sexy and rude and to the point.
It would have been nice to have been sent one to review after all the support we have given the Antman and we understand that you have to get reviews in the ‘big’ websites first but these days we are having the same amount of hits as the big money sites and we are also read by the kind of people who really get this kind of stuff.
Never mind, these things do not infect our thoughts on the release and there are other means of getting hold of music to review these days. It was great to hear the songs again after hearing the whole thing a couple of years ago round Adam’s flat and the music is better for getting immersed into.
First things first – it’s not easy listening; this is the rough and ready raw Adam of the early days when released songs and demos would sometimes blur into one. These are artist’s sketches instead of polished wallpaper and that’s their strength
The 21st century Adam is not in the mood for compromise and many mainstream listeners (and reviewers by the looks of things) will find the raw demo quality of some of the tracks uneasy listening but this is the most fascinating end of the Adam oeuvre (although the pop of Kings Of The Wild Frontier was also genius). The stripped naked lyrical quality of the songs is matched by the music on the songs, which were co written with several songwriters and quite often left in the early stages of creativity and not polished to death by over production.

If you are a big listener of music, there is something fascinating about the demo stage of the song, its raw honesty and its open ended suggestion of where it could go are quite thrilling and it’s not like these songs sound unfinished. They are snapshots in time, snapshots of the non-stop, mercurial mind of Adam as he jumps fro one idea to another in a deluge of hyper thinking. That’s the nature of his creativity – fast bursts of inspiration musically and lyrically and then move on- there is something quite thrilling about this scattergun approach – flashes into a different way of thinking, ripped pages from a diary and flashgun bursts of inspiration.
Adam’s songs were always at their best when they were works in progress and were always worked on over the years – like the many versions of Physical and Whip In My Valise you can track down – there is no set in stone final version and this album captures this approach. It’s like an artist painting several paintings all at once with a heedful of brilliant ideas – the true art is the flash of inspiration and not in the polish.
That was what punk rock was – it was about the moment.
The songs veer from classic Adam tribal stomps to proto industrial grind to twanging fifties flavoured workouts- like the much played Vince Taylor, which still sounds like a single as well as the lead single, the swamp blues of Cool Zombie. There is the tribute to Malcolm McLaren, Who’s a Goofy Bunny? With the title referencing the Sex Pistols maverick manager’s big teeth in an affectionate tribute to the big inspiration behind Adam and the one he had a curious business relationship with, not content with this there is also a song about Malcolm’s partner Vivienne Westwood called Vivienne’s Tears.

 

Adam has been busy getting the whip back out of the valise and tracks like the amusingly directly titled Sausage as well as Bullshit which are determingly sex music with lyrics like, ‘Lift up your skirt, let me make the alphabet.’

For variation there is the almost fifties style ballad Valentines, showing the sensitive side of Adam and the smooth, almost pop, of Dirty Beast- whilst Shrink is perhaps an autobiographical romp and a riot of a song, Meanwhile the proto industrial grind of the exuberant Bullshit sits neatly with the metallic KO of Hardmentoughblokes, which questions the machismo of actors.

This is quite defiantly a sex music, in the middle of the post Savile meltdown some commentators are questioning the lascivious lyrical content of the Stooges like Punkyoungirl but it’s about a crush on the 39 year old Kate Moss for fucks’ sake, whilst another stand out cut, Stay in the Game is a tough, droning reminder of the dark soul of the early Ants who existed far outside the cosy music business building their own alternative universe.
It’s rare at this stage of the game that anyone can be arsed to be as non-compromising as this let alone remember the creative power of following your own instinct.

 

 

18 thoughts on “Adam Ant ‘Adam Ant Is The Blueblack Hussar In Marrying the Gunner’s Daughter’ – album review

  1. Stacy McArdle

    Great review, John.

  2. Mancjohn

    Another positive review for one of your mates, get a grip John

  3. David J Harris

    Bloody hell John after all your hard work and effort that you’ve put into promoting this mans return, especially during those early shoddy shows way before he smartened up his act to the fine tuned greased slick machine that it is now, you of all people never got a free copy of the album! You stuck with him whilst the going was tough and legions of fans were somewhat dismayed at events. Your words of love for the man shining like a beacon in a bucket of shit. Is that anyway to behave? Is that anyway to behave I ask you? What a fucking liberty! You should have asked an Antfan and you could have had a copy of this ages ago with Bumpy capers on it instead of Goofy Bunny. You heard it first and told us how great it was. You led me up the garden path and I feel like you’ve let me down now because you gave me false hopes as I’m not hearing what you are. I might even go and cry about it! We have to agree to disagree and I’m just as entitled as the next man to an opinion even if you do look down your superior nose of more musical knowledge than me.
    This is a lovely review though I do feel compelled to ask you John would you have let the mighty Goldblade sound system release something that sounds like a bunch of rough demos? If this is the end product something is wrong, did the producer have a day off? On the plus side there’s two corking tracks on that album ‘Shrink’ and ‘Bullshit’ the rest really is the latter track me thinks. Fair play to you though for turning a big old negative into a positive.
    If anyone deserves a free copy of the album then it’s you amigo, i empathize with you. If I was Adam I’d have given you a free t-shirt, some stinking badges and a USB wristband with the video for Cool Zombie on it worth £15 as well as a signed cd and vinyl copy of the album.

    • johnny

      repeated listens have shone light on the awsume power of the antmusic, truely great music, ‘Shrink’ & ‘Dirty Beast’ are on high rotation bro – the mp3′s sounded a bit demo and lacking but the CD sounds great – perfectly timed and apart from the length of the length of the album theres no complaints here.. i have all his albums and during the golden age he kicked them spandaus and durans to the curb – long live Adam Ant ‘A new royal, a wild noble’ get it while it’s hot : )~

  4. Marcel Gootjes

    ART with a capital A for Antmusic that is….great album after a few times listening I got in the groove!!

  5. Tommo

    Great review, and on that note im off out in the snow to buy it.

  6. Phil Regan

    Totally agree. I was nervous this album would resemble the lacklustre pop of Adams later solo albums. But I find its weird production a cross between rough Dirk wears white sox era and Friend or foe. It takes a couple of listens but the songs really do start to grow on you. It’s too long and could have done with some editing but its great to have the man back and in rude health. I’m looking forward to seeing him live in Jersey in April. It’s been a long wait to see him live since I bought my 7 inch copy of Dog eat dog all those years ago.

  7. brian anderson

    No one seems to have picked up on “Who’s a goofy bunny?” Being a re-write of “Libertine” from the “Strip” album, “Libertine” being the better track but as a whole the new album is amazing!

    • johnny

      yer fu*kin right – bravo you have goods ears – now im really in awe of this record… cunning

    • life stranger

      Er Brian, I think you’ll find it was Libertine that was the rip-off. Goofy Bunny was originally written in 1980 and there’s a 1981 demo as a bonus track on the remastered edition of Prince Charming. It got rerecorded for the album after Malcolm McLaren’s death (originally as a B-Side).

  8. Andy Jones

    I think you’re wrong. Massively wrong. This isn’t Adam being uncompromising, this is Adam not caring enough to have the songs recorded properly. Some of these songs are years old and he has a fantastic band that’s bedded in well enough to knock out decently recorded versions of these tunes in about as much time as it would take to play them. Instead, we’ve got half-arsed demos where the vocals are so far back in the mix that they are unintelligible, we’ve got out-of tune guitars, we’ve got a betrayal of the fans that have stuck by him for so many years. You’re confusing rawness with musical incompetence and that’s inexcusable. I’ve been a fan since 1980 when my little 10 year old self spent his pocket money on Dirk Wears White Sox and singles and bootlegs and anything else I could lay my hands on. The least I’d expect in return for my loyalty over the years is something that’s recorded competently. I don’t want the polished sound of “Strip” or “Manners And Physique”, but I would expect something at least up to the recorded standard Of “Dirk” or even the ancient Decca Demos. I didn’t get that at all. On top of that, I posted some mild criticism on Adam’s Facebook page and got blocked. He’s treating his loyal following in the most shoddy way possible. After the live shows being so phenomenal, I was expecting something good from this album. Instead I am embarrassed that I spent good money to be treated with contempt.

    • Farrah Fly

      I think that the album sounds amazing. I didn’t expect it to be this good, so I’m really pleased. Really refreshing to my ears to hear so much freedom of expression, and lack of formula. Sorry that your expectations weren’t met. I guess you can’t please everybody.

  9. Claudio

    I think you got it just right John.
    The album is exciting and varied and Adam’s taken chances with it that I think have paid off. Ok not all the tracks are of the same quality but I’d say that there are 10 really good tracks at least.
    After all what’s wrong with under producing an album? Dirk wasn’t over produced and it’s a superb album. Strip is heavily produced and it isn’t.
    I can hear lots of Iggy in this album, both with the Stooges and from his work with Bowie. Apart from Dirk, I would say the nearest Adam album to this is the autobiographical Friend Or Foe.
    For all of you who don’t like the album, I just say give it a few listens as it has a lot to recommend it. You may not like it now but you will…

    • johnny

      You may not like it now but u will… : )~

  10. Lee CC

    This cd is bloody hard to listen too, i am a massive Ant fan and find that the songs lack any direction and all sound a bit mismatched. It is fantastic to have the icon back entertaining the world, but i think he should have rethought and remixed some of the tracks on this album. Stand out tracks Cool Zombie Punky Young Girl the rest are shit.

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