Review Summary: The content here may be as convoluted as the album’s title, but Adam Ant’s first album in eighteen years reminds us that an overload is better than a load of crap.
Few albums sound like they have been eighteen years in the making as much as Adam Ant Is the Blueblack Hussar In Marrying The Gunner's Daughter
does. Ant being a former new wave star, and this being his first outing since 1995, he doesn’t even make an attempt to adapt to the ever changing times, and it’s a wise move. Ant has had a troubled solo career to say the least, after leaving his companions in his breakout post-punk outfit Adam and the Ants thirty yeas ago, Ant struggled throughout the 80s’ to find the right sound to define himself in his solo work. The problem was that album after album he was choosing a single style to stay the course with, and not getting any sort of unique inspiration out of anything he dressed his music with. The reason The Blueblack Hussar
is the complete opposite of any solo album the man has ever produced is because Ant just throws any and all things traditional out the window and relishes in this overstuffed sample-platter of an album he has crafted, that oddly never actually feels bloated because of how it never presents too much of the same thing for too long, despite there being a seemingly bottomless pit of ideas.
Name a genre, sound, concept, anything that Ant has toyed with before in his entire music career, this album has got it. Featured among the ablums vast contents is a proud heart for the post-punk craze, an over the top punk rock-ish sexuality that’s fairly parodical of the most ridiculous aspects of glam-lathered 70s' new romantic culture, and the closest thing to a rock sound he’s ever achieved with the help of Boz Boorer and Chris McCormack deliverying some grizzled yet feisty rock n’ roll energy. That’s not to say there isn’t still some room for the never absent danceable new wave synths, - which here for the first time in a long time teeter over industrial territory - some shots at earnest adult contemporary pop and R&B in its few moments of seriousness, some bluegrass twangs for humor’s sake, and so many other little inclusions that he might as well have thrown in the kitchen sink too while he was at it.
From that description alone, The Blueblack Hussar
may seem as though it would be an absolute wreck, and it is indeed a mess of a record, but being an overabundance actually heightens its attraction. It’s chaotic, and a lot to take in, but it’s a sort of controlled chaos, an exhibit that shows while Ant may not have a particular direction for the album specifically in mind, he definitely has a handle over it despite letting loose like never before. The sounds are all present front and center, and they don’t conflict with each other or cancel out one another’s purposes because they all act towards the same goal of being a sporadic compilation collage comprised of every sound Ant has taken a chance with, which ironically does finally define Adam Ant’s persona better than any one singular sound could before.
The amount of variety here caters to any fan of anything Ant has pursued. Bigger is definitely better than sufficient, and its obvious that Ant didn’t plan on just releasing another standard studio album with The Blueblack Hussar
. It may take a bit to process, but there’s undeniably more than enough to admire, and the bottom line is that Adam Ant hasn’t sounded this inspired in decades. The amount of inspiration may come in an overwhelming dosage, but once again, overwhelming is better than risking an underwhelming effort at this point in his career, and there’s not a trace of aspiration or emulation to be found in The Blueblack Hussar
's type of inspiration. Ant is just laying all his cards down on the table, and boy does he have one hell of a hand.