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Friday, December 30, 2011

Adam Cross - Sirens

Adam Cross – Sirens
2011, Adam Cross
Aiken, South Carolina singer/songwriter Adam Cross has seen his heartbreak.  This is evident on Cross’ self-released debut album, Sirens.  Whether you take the title as a warning, or perhaps as a treatise on the things that draws us out of ourselves (and sometimes pushes us back in), Sirens is a remarkably mature and subtle disclosure of vulnerability and strength, healing and pain. 
Sirens opens with the pure pop rock of “Dance”, a catchy-yet-reserved statement of intent that is the perfect intro to Sirens.  Cross has an appealing voice; staying within a comfortable range that doesn’t restrict his ability to deliver a quietly dynamic performance.  “A Feeling” is a melancholic reflection on love as faith, in a love that, if not requited, certainly isn’t available.  Cross builds the song nicely throughout, growing in intensity through the final bridge before drawing back.  “Scared To Pieces” is a love ballad written from a less than tenable romantic position.  The smooth, radio-ready chorus is full of sound and sonically appealing.  Cross is reminiscent of an edgier Rob Thomas here, both for his sound and for his pop sensibilities.
Cross engages in a confessional style on the stripped-down “Save Me”, punctuating the effort with a jump into his upper vocal register on the chorus.  This last leaves him a bit exposed with a sound that’s less than ideal, but the song has great flow and works on many levels.  “Time Of Our Lives” is a wonderfully upbeat love song, although the verse has a stilted feel that’s somewhat distracting.  The execution here doesn’t quite match the intent, but it’s a solid, pop-friendly effort.  “Thursday” is a song of loss, written through the perspective of time, although Cross’ deliberate vocal style offers the impression of a suitor who is choosing his words carefully.  He’s still in love, you see, and still pursuing her even if he isn’t certain what it is he wants from the pursuit.  There’s a stylistic grace to this song that works, even with its somewhat awkward pace, as he struggles with the competing feelings of love and hatred.
“Burning Castles” wants to a big pop/rock song but never quite lives up to its pretensions.  It’s a solid tune, but just never fully becomes.  The chorus is mildly catchy, and Cross builds the musical tension appropriately, there’s just never a payoff.  “Time Wasted” laments a relationship that didn’t work out, seen again, through the lens of time.  This one has a nice, Adult Alternative sound that will play well with radio programmers and fans alike.  “Tragedy” finds Cross introducing more of an electronic element into the arrangement.  The result is a somewhat uninspired sound that seems ripe for pop radio but fails to live up to either the melodic or creative potential Cross seems to possess.  Sirens closes with “Lost”, a six-minute acoustic number that’s among the best on the album.  There’s a prayerful melancholy that pervades this number, as Cross laments both a past lost and a seeming lack of future.  The chorus is gorgeous and slow, dressed in dark musical timbres.
Adam Cross impresses with Sirens, even if he doesn’t always hit his mark.  There’s a distinctive musicality in Cross’ songwriting that has an edgy, Indie-feel, yet a melodicism that pop sensibility that make him accessible to the commercial market.  Musical melancholia fans will enjoy Cross’ tales of love lost, just missed or never gained.  All of this is delivered without a sense of self-pity, but rather with a clinical eye that has assessed the past and present, and in spite of the pain, taken something of a logical approach to each heartbreak.  If Sirens is any indication, there are great things to come from Adam Cross.
Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)
Learn more about Adam Cross at or 


Adam Cross Music said...

Thank you for the in-depth review of Sirens! I appreciate your kind words and your constructive approach to your critques. I'm glad you enjoyed the music and thank you again for the press. You keep my dream alive :) Please stay in touch and let me know if I can do anything for you guys!

Unknown said...

Thank you for reviewing 'Far from Entirely' and for providing such interesting and in-depth comments. Kathy

Jeff Clark said...

Many thanks, you Wildy Wascal you, for the well penned review of "Just Visiting". I thoroughly appreciate your time and effort, style and delivery...and I'm pleased you enjoyed some of the tunes

Kind Regards,

Jeff Clark

Unknown said...

Thank you for the review of At The Starting Line!

As evidenced by insightful lines like "'Chance' has an urgent feel, like an appeal not made but nonetheless hoped for" it's clear that you gave the record a good listen. I appreciate the time and effort spent on it. Good stuff!

Thanks again,
Brian Larney

Unknown said...

Thanks so much for reviewing Mobtown Moon! I appreciate your close listening and thoughtful descriptions.

Would it be OK if I made a few factual corrections? No fault of yours....our credits on the album haven't been clearly posted anywhere, so it's our own fault. But a few's actually Cris Jacobs of jam band The Bridge who sings "Money." Andrew Grimm is the banjoist on "On The Run." Also,just to clarify for your readers, I (Sandy Asirvatham) and ellen cherry are both on "Breathe."

ViVi said...

Thank you for your review and thougts on our EP! We think its great, lovely and most interesting. It's really very good for us to have a thought out and dedicated view on the material. And we love the many positive words too ;-). Have a great day! / Mental Monky Ballet

Ashley Davis said...

Thank you Wildy for the thoughtful review!

Ashley Davis - Night Travels