Six weeks after Ryan Adam’s fourth album of 2022, Devolver, was given away free to fans, and now it has reached streaming services. Of the four albums, it is both pretty darn good and not as pretty darn good. With everything that has happened to Ryan over the past three years (and he is the only person in the world for whom the pandemic was lucky) and with his return to the battle with zero backing, he still feels a debt of gratitude (devolver is Portuguese for to pay back) to the hoi polloi and what we get is some minor Ryan but good enough Ryan.
From the deep emotional bottoming out of Chris and Romeo And Juliet to Devolver, the weight of the previous two evolves into a mainstream Cardinals-ish set of hard rock with guitars and electric on a set of ultimately unmemorable songs. Ryan is in fine voice, the rock songs rock and the less rockier songs rock lesser, an acoustic strum like “Free Your Self” has its counterpoint on the exactly what you think it is, “Banging On My Head”.
The better moments, the amusingly irrelevant “Too Bored To Run” is Adams with a good joke that rings with atmosphere, but it is all moments here and there; I have never heard an Adams album with less hooks per square inch. By the end nothing has stuck and the net result is an album that sounds like third tier rockers that didn’t make the cut the first time round. In other words: not bad but no more than not bad.
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