Adam Green | Minor Love (Fat Possum)

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His previous records have juxtaposed his very clear, accessible and resonant voice with truly profane/funny/poetic lyrics.

I was a big fan of The Moldy Peaches when they released their debut in 2001, but when they soon after broke up and the two band members, Kimya Dawson and Adam Green, went their own ways and started releasing solo discs, I didn’t bother to follow them. Of course, they came back into prominence with the push of their incredibly great song “Anyone Else But You” in Juno in 2007, and since that soundtrack also featured a whole bunch of Kimya’s solo stuff, The Moldy Peaches and especially Kimya were dragged back out into the light. Around this time, I found out that the albums Adam Green had been releasing pretty regularly since the Peaches breakup were actually really good—I’m particularly fond of 2005’s Gemstones and 2006’s Jacket Full of Danger—but nobody seemed to pay him much attention after the Juno thing—much in the way I ignored him post-Moldy Peaches.

While his sixth and newest record, Minor Love, is not the first album he’s released since Juno (that would be 2008’s Sixes & Sevens), it does seem to be the first to really make a grab at building his audience. For one thing, he’s switched from Rough Trade, who ably released his first five albums, to Fat Possum, and also this time he enlisted Noah Georgeson as producer; Georgeson’s a member of Devendra Banhart’s touring band and also the producer of Devendra’s Cripple Crow and Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon, as well as being the producer on Joanna Newsom’s The Milk-Eyed Mender and mixing two-thirds of her current monstrously good triple album, Have One On Me. In other words, Georgeson is pretty much indie-rock royalty at this point, and his presence here seems like it can only help.

Another thing that Minor Love differs from Green’s other recordings is that it is much cleaner. His previous records have juxtaposed his very clear, accessible and resonant voice with truly profane/funny/poetic lyrics (a brief sampling: from Gemstones’ “Carolina,” “Carolina / She’s from Texas / Red bricks drop from her vagina,” or, from Jacket Full of Danger’s “Novotel,” “Fellas and umbrellas in the middle of the night / What’cha gonna do when the Mennonites bite / Lock lips in the teddy boy’s Chevrolet / Touch tips and you’re punked in the alleyway”), but here he maintains the quality of his voice but tones down the Parental Advisory content. Maybe this is just because I’m extremely immature, but this change has made his individual songs less memorable; while the album as a whole coheres perhaps better than any of his prior efforts, no individual songs are as immediately mixtape friendly as some of his prior successes.

That isn’t to say there aren’t still good songs here. He plays up the Lou Reed in his voice more than he has in the past (though it’s always been there) in songs like “Give Them a Token” or “Stadium Soul,” which suits him well, and “Castles and Tassels” at least manages to rhyme its title with “flatulent assholes,” which delights the 12-year-old in me.

Containing 14 tracks but only totaling 31 minutes, Minor Love goes down pretty pleasantly. I guess it probably says more about me than it does him that I lament that his lyrics aren’t so gleefully vulgar anymore, but there you have it. Even so, at least he has the real quality of his voice to fall back on, so I can continue to enjoy his records even when they aren’t so much about semen and crack cocaine. B- | Pete Timmermann

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