Adam Widener, “Vesuvio Nights” LP

adam widener coverAdam Widener's new album for Speakertree Records does really bring to mind the late Jay Reatard, but any dirty power pop these days is likely to do so. Reatard's sound was so distinctive, it's hard to avoid comparisons. However, Widener is actually quite a bit more than just a knock-off. The best cuts on Vesuvio Nights, like "Telephone Traps" and "Crystal Castles," work surf rock through chiming guitars, and it's infectiously wonderful. It's something akin to what's been done in indie rock the last few years by the likes of Vivian Girls or Best Coast, but far more accomplished. It's not sloppy and dreamy, but energetic and fun. It took several listens, but I think I'm willing to lay it on the line and say this might be the first power-pop record influenced by the likes of Radiohead -- or, at the very least, Johnny Greenwood's guitar work. The title track sounds so much like The Bends that I was shocked. It's elements such as that tone which really makes Vesuivio Nights such a rewarding listen. You're never quite certain as to what you might get, and just as you start to get complacent, something new crops up. [embed]https://soundcloud.com/speakertree-records/adam-widener-telephone-traps[/embed] [embed]https://soundcloud.com/speakertree-records/adam-widener-glow-crush[/embed] At times, I wish Widener had gotten a little weirder. The guitar gets a little overly strummy at times (most of the middle third, really), and I'd like to hear something other than fuzzed-out jangle. Thankfully, the bass lines work some odd timing every now and then, and cuts like "Fluid Trails of Glitter Gore" perk your ears up as they start to get chord fatigue. "Visceral Venom" features some actual picked notes, as opposed to chords, making it another helpful wake-up at album's end. You can buy Adam Widener's Vesuvio Nights from Speakertree Records' website.