Title: Adventurer’s Inn
Artist: The Sharp Things
Release Date: 2014 Dec 02
Genre: Pop Rock
License: CC BY-NC-SA
Label: Dive Records
For a long time I have been a fan of straight pop music: the kind of music that seems to be out of fashion these days. My love of this music started with The Beatles, and has carried on through Elvis Costello and Crowded House. The Sharp Things: Adventurer’s Inn joins the ranks of this music.
A special note about this release: the drummer for The Sharp Things – Steven Gonzalez passed away from Cystic Fibrosis last September. The band has pledged that a portion of the proceeds from this release will be donated to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in his name. That alone would be worth picking up a copy of this release.
The Sharp Things: Adventurer’s Inn
The Sharp Things is a New York based group that specializes in ‘chamber pop’ aka ‘orchestral pop’. The main group consists of nine musicians, many of them multi-instrumentalists adding strings, brass and woodwinds textures to these pieces. On this release the group is augmented by the addition of four more studio musicians, and the TSG Choir.
I have to say that I fell in love with this release on first listening. Perry Serpa’s songs, and the arrangements captured a place in my soul quickly. Ranging from Elvis Costello style pop, to 70’s inspired ballads, and a wide range between this release is whimsical, longing, and a feeling of nostalgia. It seems to be tied together with the energy of youth, and the feeling of days lost forever.
Some of my favorite tracks on this release include ‘Don’t Trust That Girl’ a plaintive ballad from one friend to another seeing that a girl is definitely not the right partner. It’s warning that instead of being full of danger, is made out of friendship and love. ‘Union Chapel” with the gorgeous chiming piano bells in the background, is a symbol of belonging and searching for one’s self. ‘Stockholm Street’ is closing track on this release is about the struggle with life, and the desire to move forward and ‘get better’.
But those aren’t the only wonderful songs. In fact, only a couple of tracks on this release don’t quite fit in with the rest of the tunes: ‘The Libertine’ and ‘You Know You Want It’. It’s not that they aren’t good songs, performances, etc. It’s more that they don’t fit in with the tone and the arrangements on this release. They don’t have the self reflective tone, and their arrangements don’t fit with the other seven tracks on this release.
From the opening of ‘Everything Breaks’ I was immediately in love with this release. It’s grounded in a lot of the Elvis Costello, 60’s and 70’s style pop that I really love. The arrangements are exquisite. The nine musicians, along with additional studio musicians are able to bring a widely varied textural and tonal complexity to these pieces. Two of the pieces, however, just don’t fit in with the overall: lyrically they don’t have the same point of view, and sonically they don’t fit the texture and tone of the rest of the release. But man, everything else about this release is gorgeous.
Overall, The Sharp Things: Adventurer’s Inn is worth the purchase. And it’s worth it more to honor Steven Gonzalez’s lost battle with Cystic Fibrosis.