Incorporating The Music Fix
16th January 2013 06:10:00
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Adam Ant - Adam Ant is The BlueBlack Hussar in Marrying The Gunner's Daughter

Since his re-emergence onto the live circuit in 2010, Adam Ant has proved his doubters wrong by staying on track and delivering fan-pleasing sets that include the hits and a hefty draw on obscure b-sides and his early punk material. Throwing himself back into the media game, alongside a willingness to talk openly about his battles with mental health issues, has lifted his profile to a level not seen since the mid-1980s.

Adam Ant is ... - the title is meant to suggest the tagline from an old movie - has been mooted for as long as he's been back in the public eye, and therein lies a problem, as it turns out the finished album is, literally, a collection of demos that have been kicking around for many months. Lead single 'Cool Zombie' (co-written with Oasis/Beady Eye man Andy Bell) has had a polish, but the rest of the album reeks of a half-arsedness. Lyrics are half-mumbled into the microphone, backing vocals warble in-and-out of the mix while the drums often have a sub-Bontempi quality. 'Sausage' and 'Hardmentoughblokes' for example, sound like they were recorded on a 4-track machine - which is fine for Guided By Voices, less so for one of pop music's greatest acts. The absence of a guiding hand (a role guitarist and co-writer Marco Pirroni performed for many years) is patently obvious.

Technical issues aside, long-time fans will recognise this as a fairly typical Adam Ant solo album that re-visits the kinds of musical templates he's gravitated towards since casting aside The Ants moniker. There are hints of rockabilly, smatterings of maudlin MOR and semi-experimental sketches like 'Darlin' Boy' whose flaws are exacerbated by the limitations of the recordings. 'Dirty Beast' has a definite Smiths-like shimmer but goes nowhere fast with it; 'Punkyounggirl' has an air of Dirk Wears White Sox-era Ants but there have been better times to drop a song about inter-generational sex ("Lift up your skirt, let me lick the alphabet."). There's a core of a decent album here - the pounding 'Bullshit' just about saves the day at the end - but the damage has already been done.

During a month when a musical chameleon has re-emerged after a self-imposed exile, new material from another icon who changed the lives of a younger generation is welcome, but to say ...Gunners Daughter is a disappointment is a considerable understatement.

Related Forum Discussions

Adam Ant - Live At The Bloomsbury
Track List
1. Cool Zombie
2. Stay In The Game
3. Marrying The Gunner's Daughter
4. Vince Taylor
5. Valentines
6. Darlin' Boy
7. Dirty Beast
8. Punkyoungirl
9. Sausage
10. Cradle Your Hatred
11. Hardmentoughblokes
12. Shrink
13. Vivienne's Tears
14. Who's A Goofy Bunny?
15. How Can I Say I Miss You?
16. Bullsh#t
17. How Can I Say I Miss You? (reprise)
-- more --
About Douglas Baptie
After years in the trenches, Douglas was elevated to the position of Editor in 2011. Pretty much everything you need to know about him can be learned by a spin of The Damned's Black Album and a screening of Twin Peaks. With a fondness for punk and 60s girl groups (with occasional side salads of indie pop), if your records are longer than 2m 50s, you're probably wasting each other's time. For general editorial questions, drop him a line via the TMF contact email.