This Adult Books article was written by Simon Carline, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Natalie Whitehouse.
You must be doing something right to be asked to take up a residency in a popular Los Angeles venue; many bands find themselves begging for the opportunity to perform to half-empty room on any day of the week that’s available. With this in mind, it’s probably a good indicator that Adult Books are on the cusp of something with their debut album ‘Running from the Blows’ as, by the time it drops, they will have completed a month long Monday night residency at The Echo, a 350-capacity venue in Echo Park, Los Angeles. Not bad for a band that only have a six-track EP to their name so far – a three and a half-year-old six-track EP at that.
So what has kept Adult Books relevant and their fans dialled in? In an age where it’s very easy to be forgotten without constantly reminding an audience that you exist, they have succeeded in staying prominent, via a steady stream of live appearances with festivals like South by South West being a major factor in turning fans on to a sound that melds a plethora of iconic influences together.
Arguably, their fan’s patience stems from Adult Books’ range of slightly diverse yet strikingly complimentary influences. They take just enough from each for you to notice but the moments are often fleeting, the next song is enough of a curveball to knock you off the scent as they pull in a slightly different direction to keep ‘Running from the Blows’ with its own identity intact.
Initially, Adult Books hit the scene as Lo-fi Garage Rock band with a Surf Punk twist and for a lot of their debut they are just that. ‘Casual Wrecks’ and ‘I Don’t Think I Can Stay’ start off proceedings, with a tip of the hat to The Ramones before they throw that first aforementioned curveball in there. ‘In Front of Myself’ could easily be mistaken for a bold, early doors cover of The Cure’s ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ from the opening seconds before it settles into its own skin.
Although it starts in a reasonably strong fashion, ‘Running from the Blows’ truly finds its feet as it approaches the midway point. Starting with the unbelievably catchy sunny surf-punk of ‘Suburban Girlfriend’, a three chord blitz of simplicity that etches itself in your head for hours on end, Adult Books deliver a quartet of album highlights in one impressive burst. They expand beyond their Garage Rock roots on the synth laden ‘Nihilism for Beginners’ before moving swiftly on to the brilliantly moody, New Order-tinged ‘Firewalking’.
The trio never quite hit the same heights afterwards as they re-trend a lot of the same ground covered earlier in the piece. ‘Lobby Talks’ is a nice slice of noisey garage rock and ‘Hours on Hands’ has the atmospheric shoegaze that Turnover utilised on last year’s ‘Peripheral Vision’ but it doesn’t totally prevent ‘Running from the Blows’ from running out of legs a little by the end.
The late stumble doesn’t render this debut a failure though; there is more than a sense that Adult Books will grow to have more to offer over time and they’re sure to capture the attention from multiple scenes on the strength of this first full length, as they look to take up a different kind of residency in our record collections.
‘Running from the Blows’ is out now via Lolipop Records.