Neatly tucked between layers of a melodicism both psychedelic and loosely jazzy in tone, we find the seductive voice of Calling Adam ready to transport us to another consciousness in the potent “Distinguish Yourself Through Clouds of Smoke,” one of the more surreal tracks to behold on his new record, The Year of My Manifestation. As emotional as any single verse in the LP is, Calling Adam’s vocal is an important element to appreciate in this incredibly eclectic new album, which I would deem one of the more left-field offerings audiophiles will likely take to this month.
This record isn’t just a showcase of vocal abilities; contrarily, I think that the instrumentation behind some of the more stinging verses here is some of the more provocative fodder for extended listening sessions that I’ve come across lately. “Boston Song” certainly rocks harder than a lot of the commercially-bankrolled beats topping the charts have in the past six months, while other tracks like “Love Is True” and “Sunday in the Morning Sun” combine components of multiple genres to dispatch evenhanded pop grooves that anyone with an ear for good music could fall in love with on the spot.
The mix here is actually a little experimental for my taste, favoring the instrumental push of “Amy” and “In the Game We All Lose” over the lead vocals just a bit more than I would have liked, but these cosmetic issues aside, I do love the physicality that the production technique utilized in The Year of My Manifestation highlights. It definitely helps to make “Give It to Me” and “Boston Song” just a touch more bruising than they already would have been, and in some situations – like the chorus of “Come on Home” – it lets us feel the textures of the harmonies without getting too swept away in the lyrical content.
It would be really interesting to hear “Sunday in the Morning Sun” and instrumental “Love Is True” in a live setting sometime, mostly just to experience the different ways in which Calling Adam could restructure these two songs for the purposes of the stage. All of the content on this record qualifies as being a heck of a lot more versatile than the status quo would call for, and in the right venue, I can see a lot of taking on an even more monolithic shape (with roaring audience as fuel for the fire, of course).
I’m just now getting to know Calling Adam’s music this spring via the material he’s packed together for us in The Year of My Manifestation, but personally, I think that this LP would make a fine addition to any indie fan’s shelf. There’s no easy way to categorize the melodies in this record using conventional genre brandings, but no matter what you call Calling Adam and his sound, I think most will agree when I say that he’s one singer/songwriter any true blue music lover should be following in 2020. This is a fantastic album, and a great way of introducing the world to his artistry.