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Brooklyn’s Adir L.C., More Than A Pretty Indie Face Who Is Gonna Leave You Broken Hearted

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“Written at various points on the globe but recorded last year in Florentin, Tel Aviv, Oceanside Cities is lush, folky pop with Adir’s appealing voice making things all the more inviting. ” So said Brooklynvegan in November about the debut album from Adir Cohen, the young and talented journeyman indie folk rocker. Adir performed a well received set at Pianos later that month, then back to usual suspect Brooklyn shows.

Though just returned from Tel Aviv,  Adir is a Brooklyn sound maestro, mixing folk with soft rock yes, but soft rock that has twinges of ambient in the background. The closest it comes to his Jewish roots is a subtle Gypsy sounding finger picked intro on “Goldmund”. “Goldmund” is a typically smart song, starting slow before it picks up  for the verse, going quiet on the bridge and pounding you out: it is like a quiet-loud-quiet axis, but with a solid base in the arrangements.

Cohen’s press release claims “Oceanside Cities describes a young person’s search for identity and purpose as something essentially solitary and global in scope. Friends and community provide sustenance, love, and temporary shelter along the way, but, like a hero waylaid among the lotus eaters, in song after song, the singer struggles between the comforts of connection and the spiritual imperative of moving along.”

If that sounds a little sad and sorry, sometimes it does comes across as downbeat bummer for college grads who are disappointed in their first jobs, but when he gets the song just right, this is first rate stuff. Both the album opener and closer are terrific indie pop, “Same Big Ring” is so dramatic it seems like a U2 anthem, “this child is nothing wrapped round my mind”?  With its Americana on hand and its surreal singalong a head scratcher positive touch, it does what Arena bands want to do: it makes you want to be included in. For such a studiously self-conscious man, it is like a letting free by blurring your meaning. “Half Right” might well be the best song I missed last year, it is what Adir has a gift for, a yearning voice and tightness of construction and arrangement, which means when the sound is softer it isn’t slacker. “Buyer’s Instinct” sounds like Beirut as a multi tracked one man band.

His dark, brooding good lucks gives him a what if Heathcliff had joined the Corleone family broodiness, I am sure there are a few female fans, and if the wanderlust so central to his image comes with a downside, I would bet the girls know that as well.

Here is the Press Release:

Signed young with The Medics, a forerunner of the band Le Rug produced by the songwriter John DeNicola and featuring future members of Porches., Adir got his taste of the indie foment of the early 2000’s before heading off to the college jam town of New Paltz, NY in 2007. There, he became a pivotal player and promoter in the fledgling indie scene that spawned What Moon Things, Quarterbacks, and the studio/label Salvation Recording Company.

It was also in New Paltz where Adir met former Wood Brothers drummer Jed Kosiner, his partner in the psych-folk outfit Fairweather Friends, a duo that could just as easily assemble as a ragtag, ad hoc collective and deliver ecstatic performances of Adir’s sturdy and deceptively savvy folk epics. Fairweather Friends released the well-received These Years on the Boat on Salvation and hit the road, from which Adir has never quite fully landed. Stints followed in various European cities, Los Angeles and finally Tel-Aviv, where Adir met the acquaintance of a young producer named Tom Elbaz, who would have an enormous influence on the dramatic, coherently layered sound of Oceanside Cities.

For all its complicated, multi-city birth story, Oceanside Cities is anything but a casual freak-folk travelogue; it is indie-orchestral, dynamic in its arcs, epic in its song forms and its flourish-filled arrangements, as Adir fully realizes the balance of confessional folk intimacy and broad pop ambition that his writing has always hinted at. In its blend, it is as easy to hear his love of the seminal guitar rock of Pavement and Built to Spill as it is to hear his parents’ extensive folk collection and his delight in buoyantly tuneful British Invasion pop.”

Adir L.C. should break indie this year, the album is a goodie and he is just a coupla opening slots (Real Estate could use him for one) before catching on. The man is an interesting study, he has a callow charm, there is a coolness to his come on, a smartness that seems to sidestep cliché in his arrangements. He has something of the obtuseness of another Cohen, Leonard. His lyric is too colloquial for the reference to stick, but there is an attitudinal equality and  most importantly, Adir can write songs. I mean, he can write good songs.

 

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