Adam Haworth Stephens
We Live on Cliffs


4.5
superb

Review

by Tyler Munro EMERITUS
September 29th, 2010 | 27 replies | 14,338 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Two Gallants' frontman goes out on his own and records one of 2010's best.

Being that I'd consider myself a pretty big fan of Two Gallants, I definitely expected big things out of We Live on Cliffs, and yet even I'm having a hard time dealing with just how good it really is. While there's an obvious similarity between Stephens' debut solo album and his work with Tyson Vogel, it turns out he might be better off on his own. We Live on Cliffs is that good: better than Two Gallants, better than What the Toll Tells not far off from The Throes.

We Live on Cliffs is Adam Haworth Stephens' doing things the old fashion way. It's not to say he's falling into conventions, because the album isn't without its quirks, but it paints the southern songwriter in a subtler, softer fashion than we're used to. There's no yelling and no distortion, and little in the way of agony or anger. His voice is softer (but still a bit grating) and his lyrics stronger and more palpable than ever. The album's press-release calls We Live on Cliffs Dylan-esque, and I'm hard pressed to disagree. I will, however, clarify.

This is Dylan-esque after the controversy but before the inanity. It's the bridge between Blood on the Tracks and Blonde on Blonde, because for every “Tangled Up in Blue” there's a “Rainy Day Woman”; We Live on Cliffs works as much because of its conventions as it does in spite of them. The more traditional tracks like “Praises in Your Name” and “Southern Lights” work because of Stephens' lyrical ability and penchant for writing a good, bare-bones folk song, but the album's quirkier moments might be its best.

With lyrics like, “you've been to heaven but your feet have never touched the ground” and interminable groove, “The Cities That You've Burned” isn't just the best song on the album but quite possible the best song to come out this year. It's what you'd get if Bob Dylan was Roger Waters and “Another Brick in the Wall” was an alt-country tune; it's folk gone funky. “Angelina” is by the book in comparison, but its uke-like guitar playing coupled with its summer-y vibe and not so summer-y wordplay throw a big enough curve-ball to keep listeners on their toes.

Two Gallants are known for their stripped to its core approach towards folk-rock. Their music is angsty and to the point. We Live on Cliffs works in stark contrast to Stephens' day job. It's textured, using pianos, strings and even a bass (har-har!) to give it that added sense of depth, and while it's far from being overproduced the sound is clear as day.

Long story short, it's awesome.



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user ratings (16)
Chart.
4.3
superb

Comments:Add a Comment 
Tyler
Emeritus
September 30th 2010



7925 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Don't forget you can hear "The Cities That You've Burned" here: http://sputnikmusic.com/blog/?p=4022

bailar14
September 30th 2010



1603 Comments


better than two gallants you say? i will obtain then senor cocaina.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
September 30th 2010



17914 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

ya def gonna listen to the whole thing

Tyler
Emeritus
September 30th 2010



7925 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think I like it more than anything Two Gallants have done other than The Throes. It's just nice to hear him not shout.

Tyler
Emeritus
September 30th 2010



7925 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm slowly trying to get this site into more folk and country, but expect some METAL stuff soon now that I'm writing again.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
September 30th 2010



17125 Comments


i like how you've become the go to Alt-Country reviewer

Digging: Sad Lovers and Giants - Feeding the Flame

Tyler
Emeritus
September 30th 2010



7925 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's honestly almost all I listen to now outside of the usual metal stuff. An odd, mix, I guess, but it's basically folky stuff and death metal these days.

Skimaskcheck
September 30th 2010



2360 Comments


sounds real good, i'll try get this

Consigliere
September 30th 2010



228 Comments


Will this make me forget the huge disappointment that was their S/T ??

Cocaine : I'm soooo with you man, the only genre that i probably listen to more than rock and metal is folk and this site, with few exceptions, ignores folk completely.....

kitsch
September 30th 2010



5105 Comments


no yelling damn

SeaAnemone
September 30th 2010



18840 Comments


hey I love Two Gallants this sounds like it may be for me

Jips
September 30th 2010



1127 Comments


will be getting this real soon... i expect good things now....

BigTuna
September 30th 2010



5152 Comments


song is great, interest piqued

Digging: Future - Honest

iranscam
October 1st 2010



469 Comments


It's honestly almost all I listen to now outside of the usual metal stuff. An odd, mix, I guess, but it's basically folky stuff and death metal these days.


same. I like that you're reviewing more country/folky stuff. Bugs me that "country" is still kind of a humorous term to people around here.

ASberg
October 1st 2010



2161 Comments


Will check this out. You could check out a girl from Sweden called Anna von Hausswolff cocaine. Not folk but very "not metal".

myhigherpie
October 2nd 2010



3027 Comments


Been REALLY into folk lately, especially of the Bob Dylan/Neil Young variety, so this sounds like a fantastic fit for me.

Will check out ASAP.

DiceMan
October 2nd 2010



7068 Comments


If this makes BNM I might listen to it.

sethpierce
October 2nd 2010



18 Comments


this album sucks!

IanDavila
October 3rd 2010



442 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

diggin, sounds like a 4-4.5 for now...

Scoot
October 3rd 2010



17493 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really enjoying this.



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