Adam Ant's first album in 17 years is a bizarre hodge-podge of random ideas that could benefit from some editing and more focus. Actually, ANY focus. It's kind of a mess.
I was rooting for Adam Ant and his first album in 17 years. He's an artist I give a lot of extra latitude to, forgiving his mis-steps as a little charming where I'd be much harsher on anyone else. Plus I heard he was reuniting with Marco Pirroni, with whom he did his best work. I even held out hope when it took 2 years to finish, when it was announced to be a double album, and when Marco dropped out (a few songs with Marco made the cut, but I really can't feel his influence anywhere). I wasn't expecting a brilliant record, but I was hoping there would enough moments of the old Ant magic to make it a record I want to return to for more.
There are some inspired moments and small flashes of brilliance, but they're too spread out over the chaotic and unfocused mess that became the final album. To call the album interesting would be an understatement - I was riveted on that first listen wondering what would happen next. But it's not the sort of interesting that merits many additional listens. By the second listen it was already becoming a bit of a chore. And worse of all, after a few plays I couldn't remember a single hook or melody.
I give Adam credit for not just cashing in on 80's nostalgia by trying to recreate the double drum sound of the Ants. His vocal delivery is unique enough that there's no mistaking whose record this is. And his erratic genre jumping touches on many of the musical reference points of his entire career, which is a bit fun for a longtime fan. And he branches out and brings in a kitchen sink of new sounds, but often they sound like they were just thrown together like an audio collage rather than a fully thought out song.
I can't say that I think Adam has a great record in him, but he definitely has a better record than this in him. I'd love to see him work with someone that could guide him into focusing more rather than trying to capture every notion he has and slapping it into a final album. All that said, if you're and Adam Ant, you really do need to hear this record once. You might be disappointed, but you'll also smile and laugh. Sometimes with him, other times at the bizarre choices he makes. You'll be glad you did. But you probably won't need to hear it a second time.