This ‘Adam Cleaver’ review was written by Bethany Gray, a GIGsoup contributor
As summer draws to an end, the wide-eyed amongst us become more hungry for a deeper sound to reminisce over the sweeter days. Adam Cleaver’s ageless, soul-engraving voice creates that warm haze – his hypnotic sound creating an anchor like connection between artist and listener as Cleaver, throughout this latest EP, plunges into the wealth of human emotion, whilst trying to pinpoint his own artistic evolution.
The Title track ‘Man Or Beast’ both exhilarates and soothes the listener, providing empowering vocals over an unwavering beat until it becomes almost anthem-like. A driving, energetic sound delivered in a subtle way. Revolving around a mixture of genres of indie, folk and acoustic, it’s hard to place Cleaver in a musical bracket, and sometimes it can certainly feel that Cleaver doesn’t know in which direction he wants to go himself; often making it difficult to become fully satisfied by his music.
‘The First’, however, is where Cleaver truly sets the benchmark – a song works best when it leaves you suspended around a fragment in time, and in contrast to ‘Man Or Beast’, it’s hard not to become transfixed by this track. Simple, yet totally charismatic. With artists these days desperately trying to push boundaries and become more outrageous, they can lose the sense of shared hope and enthusiasm that music draws upon. In contrary, Adam Cleaver’s music focuses entirely on a strong unity between artist and listener – a rarity in what seems like a time of ego and false pretence. The song perfectly demonstrates Cleaver’s ability to emphasise his vocal ability by using it as the main instrument to pace the song and keeping it as the main focus throughout.
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It’s hard to miss the passion Cleaver pours into this EP, demonstrated in the fine details of ‘At The End’, which coils and unfolds, combining elegant harmonies and sultry beats to make it that more convincing and atmospheric; but nevertheless, it’s weakness stands in it’s inability to truly capture the listener, and become nothing more than mere background music. The EP concludes on the refreshing ‘The Salt Mine’; a breath of fresh air on what could be considered an otherwise laborious EP. Despite the track rousing personal feelings about lost love for Cleaver, it has a certain whimsical charm that rings of more hopeful times to come and reminds us of the richness of Adam Cleaver’s songwriting ability.
All in all, although ‘Man Or Beast’ hasn’t got the spark of Cleaver’s previous EP ‘Boxed & Braised’, it highlights Cleaver’s beautiful songwriting and is a great example of his musical scope.
‘Man Or Beast EP’ is out on the 18th September on Veta Records