Album Review: Even As We Speak – Adelphi

There is a fragile and elegant beauty in Even As We Speak‘s new album ‘Adelphi’ that leaves the listener swooning with bliss. The entire architecture of the album is built on graceful, sweet melodies expressed with a purity and naivety that is endearing and enthralling, and is yet imbued with such a sense of world weariness and melancholia.

It is a strange and contradictory dichotomy: an expression of the ordinary and mundane that instills joy and optimism.

The skill Even A We Speak have is to tell ordinary tales of love and loss, hope and hopelessness and the travails of every day life in such an extraordinarily beautiful way.

Opening track ‘Someone‘ `(reviewed by Backseat Mafia earlier this year) starts with the crackling of vinyl before launching into a tale of mundane frustrations of everyday – this is all I have become, the one who pays the bills to keep the power on.

This track symbolises how Even As We Speak succinctly creates a bridge from the past into modernity: a palimpsest of their sustainability as a creative force:

This is part of a recurring image. Interestingly, both ‘Sun’ and ‘Signs’ start with a nod to an ancient form of communications with the old telephone ring and internet connection blips . ‘Sun’ is a psychedelic trip into optimism and dreams of a better place, ‘Signs’ is a commentary on the world reliant on visual communications . Again: a perfect capture of the band’s sustainability and progression: one foot in the past with all of its nostalgic glories while sights are firmly set on the present and future. A gap that has been perfectly bridged by the band.

I reviewed the single Unknown which I described as having a psychedelic, reverb soaked sound which masks the wistful themes of the passage of time and life and the temporal nature of existence.

According to Matt Love from the band:

The song Unknown is in the first instance a confrontation with the inevitability of death. However, with that comes the question-how did I live? Death is a journey we take alone to an Unknown destination, but in life, what did I stand for, will you remember me, and will there be any trace of the love I have given? It is not a song for sunlit afternoons.

‘Forgiving’ is a cinematic beauty with its crisp guitars and bubbling synth arpeggios and celestial chorus, recalling bands like Prefab Sprout and The Go-Betweens. And with sweary songs like ‘Blind’, Even As We Speak reveals an inherent sense of humour while recognising absurdity and frustration in our modern life.

‘Child’ is a heart-achingly paean to the singer’s child: filled with a deep and profound expression of love: an unadulterated and pure love.

This exquiste album ends with ‘Light’: a cinematic, imperial track that is haunting and elegiac.

It’s these quiet tales of life – minor obsessions, the minutia of existence, beauty and mundanity and the joys that make this album so lyrically brilliant.

‘Adelphi’ is a stunning and most welcome return for Even As We Speak: a band that proves yet again that time does not destroy creativity, that innovation and musical expression is not solely within the purview of the young and that talent does not wither through the years.

‘Adelphi’ is out now through Shelflife Records and you can stream/download through the usual sources or get direct from the band through the link below:

Watch out for our exclusive feature on the band.

Even As We Speak are:

Matthew Love
Mary Wyer
Julian Knowles
Rob Irwin
Anita Rayner

For the uninitiated, Even As We Speak arose in the heady days of the Sydney music scene in 1986 where in their own words they ‘refused to wear the eye makeup of their generation’ – highly amusing for me: I was in one of those Sydney bands at the time wearing eye make up that watched with awe (and a certain amount of jealousy) their upward trajectory.

The band found success in the UK, being played by the legendary John Peel, feted by NME and Melody Maker and signing to the iconic Sarah Records, before breaking up in 1993 (because they ‘hated each other’). Showing good things cannot remain hidden, the band resurfaced to great acclaim in 2016 with the ‘Black Forest’ EP and sold-out live performances in Europe.

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